Health Department

Food, Lodging & Pools
Public Service Center
250 S. 4th St., Room 510
Minneapolis, MN 55415

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Food Defense 101

Food defense vs. food safety

Food Safety refers to handling, preparing and storing food to minimize the risk of foodborne illness. 

A food safety incident is caused from an accidental food borne illness. Some examples of a food safety incident result from food handlers not washing their hands, cross-contamination, not cooking food to a temperature that kills bacteria, and an unsafe source.

Food Defense is the protection of food products from intentional contamination or adulteration intended to cause public health harm or economic disruption.  

Reasons for intentional contamination may be:

What can businesses do? 

Simple steps can improve your food defense practices. 


Secure access to your business: 


Putting a food defense system in place

In 2018, the City of Minneapolis identified a gap in awareness, training, and response for food defense incidents.

To address the gap, Minneapolis developed one of the first food defense response plans in the country. 

The food defense response plan was developed by local, state, and federal environmental health, law enforcement and higher education professionals. 

What can you do? 

Create a food defense incident response plan using a criminal-epidemiological framework. The food defense response plan documents listed below can serve as templates for cities, counties and states.

To obtain a copy of these templates, or for more information, contact the Minneapolis Health Department at 612-673-2301 or [email protected] Include "Food defense" in your subject line.  

Food defense plan documents

Food Emergency Response Planning Documents User Guide

Food Emergency Response Plan – Intentional Contamination Template

Appendix 1 – Training Materials Template

Appendix 2 – List of Select Agents and Toxins Template

Appendix 3 – Joint Threat Assessments Template

Appendix 4 – Joint Investigation Activities Template

Appendix 5 – Joint Interviews Template

Intentional Food Contamination Response Field Operations Guide Template

Food Defense Pocket Card


The Eight Patient

Why do we care?


We are all vulnerable to a food defense incident because we all eat. The history of food defense incidents has increased over the past 30 years.


This suggests there are a greater number of people and organizations capitalizing on weaknesses in the food system. This includes disgruntled employees, foreign and domestic terrorist groups, and "lone wolves."

Food defense incidents 


Minneapolis Health Department LogoShould you require a reasonable accommodation in order to fully participate, or information in an alternative format, please contact 612-673-2301.
Para asistencia 612-673-2700 - Rau kev pab 612-673-2800 - Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500.

Last updated Apr 1, 2019



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Para asistencia 612-673-2700, Yog xav tau kev pab, hu 612-637-2800, Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500. 

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