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Malicious contamination in product water-possible testing methods


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Nazia Ammad

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Posted 21 September 2021 - 02:29 PM

Hello everyone,

 

We are seafood processors and mainly produce IQF shrimps and fish fillets. I am planning for mock exercise of malicious contamination in water source (underground water tank) which is used in product.  can anyone suggest that what possible tests could be done on water (after malicious contamination) that reveal the type of contamination that has been done. or what is the general practice of water testing for this type of incident when it actually happened, do we need to send water sample in some sort of forensic lab to find out that what has been added to the water. plz advise.
 



Ryan M.

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 05:08 PM

It depends on what you are trying to accomplish.  It is very difficult and costly to list out all the potential malicious contaminants that pose a risk for water.  Water is a universal solvent so QUITE A LOT of contaminants can be great to use if you have malicious intent.

 

I would rather focus on the steps to take to prevent the malicious contamination and then the decisions and steps to take after an incident occurs.

 

So, if you want to do a mock event you can do it several ways:

  1. State your customers have become ill from your food.  The illness doesn't appear to be biological (pathogen).
  2. You observed someone putting something into the water.  You don't know what it is.
  3. The water has an off-odor, off-color, or off-something, but you don't know what it is.

 

If something like this happens 9 times out of 10 you will have no idea what has happened and you have to play investigator.  That's why with this type of incident the best thing you can do is utilize preventative methods.



sqflady

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 06:18 PM

You could contact your water testing lab and ask them what they would recommend.  They often know what tests are available and might be best suited to the situation.



TimG

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 07:12 PM

Hi Nazia! As Ryan mentioned, tossing a wide net and testing for everything isn't exactly viable when it comes to malicious contamination.

When I was writing my FDP I had the 'what to test for' as a variable, to be determined post investigation. So for an example mock scenario:

  • Was informed anon by an employee that employee X hates supervisor Y, and was going to put 'something' in the mixer on 'Y's shift
  • Reviewed cameras and witness X going to another employee's line and putting unknown substance in lot-210405B, saved recording to jump drive
  • Sequestered all material of lot-210405B
  • Performed thorough investigation (you'd put everything you did in the investigation here or make it up since it's mock)
    • During investigation of X's locker found diazinon insecticide
  • Sample of lot-210405B was sent to Z lab to undergo a battery of testing, including but not limited to presence of organophosphate insecticides

The battery of testing would be my random grab bag of potable water testing I do annually on city water, but what I'm looking for is the presence of the poison I am pretty sure X put into the product. Either way, that product is being destroyed, I'm just building the case and getting irrefutable evidence with the testing.



Nazia Ammad

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 04:23 PM

thanks all, as you all mentioned, we also defined preventive measures in our food defense program and we implemented these preventive measures too. in our factory we do not have line water, we call water tankers (bowsers) to fill our underground tanks then we pass this water from water filtration plant and from that point water supplies to the main processing plant. underground water tank, water filtration plant are in the same area which, the main gate to this area is locked 24hours except at the time of water deliver from bowser, also the filling point of underground tank is secured by cover and cover is further has lock on it. Also we have installed a camera in this area.  Guards are present 24/7 at main gate of this area, also they check the locks in morning, afternoon and evening. at production floor our system is also design in a way that no one can add anything to the processing batches as at entrance every one is pass through strict checking. but are these preventive measures enough that we don't need to perform any mock. what will you suggest? also can we justify the auditor that we do not conduct any mock because we are very much confident about our preventive measures. 






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