A leading UK intelligence provider is calling on food and drink businesses to tighten up employee screening procedures to protect their operations from a potential enemy within, in the light of intelligence sources* identifying the FMCG sector as being at significant risk of a deliberate terrorist attack.
FMCG Security says it’s only a matter of time before a major attack is launched on the country’s food supply chain by a terrorist group or a lone wolf pursing a radicalised agenda, possibly through premeditated contamination, that could result in supply failure with catastrophic consequences both socially and economically. Because of its widespread delivery capabilities, the FMCG sector needs robust safeguards in place for all stakeholders, such as employment screening measures, to protect against rogue employees, the potential threat posed by pressure groups and/or ideologically motivated individuals.
FMCG Security can embed its INSIGHT products, a comprehensive range of employee background checks that go far beyond DBS (criminal records) and Right to Work, to form a fundamental part of companies’ TACCP and VACCP compliance using a simple traffic light system – Red do not proceed, Amber proceed with caution, Green no negative issues identified, proceed.
Standard DBS checks can only access 8% of an employee’s background information, compared with FMCG Security’s intelligence-led INSIGHT service which evaluates 78% of data, the most important being verification of identity using highly advanced facial recognition technology.
Whilst workers are a company’s most important asset, that person walking through the door every day could also be one of the biggest risks to food security if not rigorously vetted, and that goes for chief executive officers (CEO) as well as shop floor workers and retail staff. FMCG Security is the only UK company, and one of only three in the world outside government intelligence agencies, to offer this level of employee background checking service.
Increasingly stringent privacy and data security legislation has made employment screening a challenge. The burden is on the employer to conduct risk-based screening to ensure a secure and compliant work environment by verifying movements, backgrounds, and the right to work.
FMCG Academy chairman, Jeremy Praud, said:
“There have already been documented attempts to disrupt the UK’s food supply chain, the most notorious being the case of Munir Mohammed and Rowalda El-Hassan, the couple convicted in 2018 of preparing for terrorism in a plot that could have attacked Derby or poisoned supermarket food.
“Mohammed slipped under the radar by obtaining false EU documents which helped him secure work at Kerry Foods in Burton, a major manufacturer of ready meals where he cooked sauces for meals going to Tesco and Morrisons. Thorough vetting would have revealed he was a risk to the food supply. Kerry subsequently lost the Tesco contract so closed the plant with the loss of 900 jobs.
“Standard DBS checks only access 8% of available data. Our intelligence-led background checks access 78%. The question is would you choose to make informed decisions based on understanding only 8% of the potential problem, or would you prefer to have access to 78% of the data?
“INSIGHT finally enables UK food manufacturers to access the information they truly need to protect both their brands and the public in a way affordable for FMCG manufacturing. Safeguarding your workforce can lead to increased confidence across employees, shareholders and customers.”
Embedding counter measures and instilling formidable layers of security is a small price to pay against premeditated contamination to damage the UK economy, amongst other serious consequences. It is estimated that it cost the Russians less than £2,000 to mount a mainland attack on the UK but the Skripal incident resulted in a £20million clean-up bill, town centres closed, hospitals quarantined, transport and businesses affected, three people seriously ill and one fatality.
FMCG Security employee security solutions are designed specifically for the food and drinks supply chains. They instill confidence in the status, background and likely intentions of existing employees or new recruits in an industry that has been identified by intelligence agencies as being at significant risk.
The company can conduct seminars by agents at the forefront of counter-terrorism on the premises of businesses in the FMCG manufacturing sector to brief key stakeholders on industry threats, intelligence gathering and how best to embed intelligence-led countermeasures within an organisation.