Tag Archives: Jason Bashura

Biros' Blog

Food Protection: Prepare for the Unexpected

By Rick Biros
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In a June 24 New York Times article, ‘It’s Happening Again’ the Supply Chain is Under Strain, the head of ocean freight for a logistics company said “I’m lovingly calling the (logistics) market now ‘Covid junior,’ because in a lot of ways we’re right back to where we were during the pandemic. It’s all happening again.”

The Covid supply chain disruptions hit the industry hard, forcing manufacturers to source new ingredient suppliers. Trying to quickly approve (or disapprove) new suppliers put a massive strain on food safety and quality assurance departments who were (are) tasked with doing more with less. Most of the industry really was not prepared for this magnitude of disruption. However, food and beverage industry will always face a myriad of threats to our FSQA organizations. How do we manage to reduce the risks of these threats from impacting our organizations? We evaluate, we assess, we PREPARE for the unexpected – through planning, workforce development and learning from the past. Pick your poison:supply chain disruptions, emerging and virulent pathogens, man-made and natural disasters, new regulations, bird flu, PFAS’, food fraud (think cinnamon tainted with lead and the cross-functional collaborations needed to protect the public’s health), just to name a few.

Food Safety Tech advisor and friend of mine, Jason Bashura, MPH, RS, Sr. Manager, Global Food Defense, PepsiCo has shared with me for years concepts related to the development of  a Food Protection mindset. Food and beverage manufacturers companies are naturally concerned about protecting the public’s health and well-being, their brands and their own company’s financial bottom line. The phrase  “Food Protection” requires a company-wide culture that incorporates the concepts of quality, food safety, food integrity ,food defense, EH&S, physical and cybersecurity concepts into the company’s approach to the envelope of “Food Protection.” Prior to FSMA, in 2007, the FDA released the Food Protection Plan which was founded on the themes of prevention, education & response  all of which are key underpinnings of not only FSMA today, but as embedded within the New Era of Smarter Food Safety, for tomorrow. Today, the FDA funds Food Protection Task Forces across the U.S., and the use of the phrase Food Protection is more ‘prevalent’ than you think: how many uses of this term do you hear regularly? How many other Food Protection ‘elements’ there are? Please add your thoughts in the comments section below.

In recognition of the theme for this year’s  World Food Safety day  – Prepare for the unexpected –  underlines the importance of being prepared for food safety incidents, no matter how mild or severe they can be. Food Protection is all about being prepared. Many firms recognize, celebrate and embrace World Food Safety Day as a month long celebration.

Jason can both talk the preparedness talk and walk the preparedness walk! Prior to his work at PepsiCo where his full-time job is predicated on protecting PepsiCo’s worldwide consumers, , he also has organized the Food Defense Consortium, an informal working group of FSQA, physical security, academia and other Food Defense professionals who share best practices, lessons learned and simply share information amongst the group. The Food Defense Consortium meets regularly via zoom and once a year in person at the Food Safety Consortium conference. Jason has a history of “being prepared” as a Volunteer with the Storm Engine Company #2 & the Storm Ambulance Corps in Derby CT, having served as a public health emergency response coordinator at the Naugatuck Valley Health District (CT), and an avid volunteer with the Valley Chapter of the America Red Cross (CT). He is currently serves as a community volunteer member – with environmental health experience – of the Board of Health for the Howard County Health Department (MD).


Frank Pisciotta, Chair, ASIS Food Defense Community and Jason Bashura, Facilitator, Food Defense Consortium presenting me with a Certificate of Appreciation for hosting the Food Defense Consortium at the Food Safety Consortium conference as well as publishing the Food Defense Resource Center on Food Safety Tech.



Another example of preparedness is Rick Rescorla who was the epitome of thinking WHAT IF on the day to day, about how to prepare, educate and respond to a variety of situations that might arise. As director for security at Morgan Stanley in New York City on September 11th  2001, he is credited with saving greater than 2,700 lives thanks to his relentless pursuits for countless hours of education and raising awareness of how to deal with adverse conditions in an evacuation environment.

I guess one should practice what you preach. I listen to Jason and am working to be better prepared for the unexpected. A few years ago, I was “volunteered” to be the Captain of the Chappaquiddick Island CERT (Community Emergency Response Team). We coordinate with the fire department in advance of storms like Nor’easters and have a plan in place for the power being out and no ferry service to get off the island.

As we close out World Food Safety month, we need to not only learn from the past to prevent future issues – so that “it” doesn’t happen again –  we need to embrace the opportunities that we face every day that help us to be better prepared, for tomorrow. As Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith from the original 1980’s “A-Team” tv show used to say “I love it when a plan comes together.”

Food Protection Resources:

  • For more information on how you can PREPARE your business for the unexpected, visit READY.gov
  • For more information on the Food Defense Consortium, visit the Food Defense Resource Center on this website or contact Jason.Bashura@PepsiCo.com
  • Rick Rescorla Citizen Honors Reward
  • Jason Bashura will be co-presenting at the Food Safety Consortium Conference with Jon Woody, Director, Food Defense, CAPT, USPHS, FDA and Debby Newslow, President, D.L. Newslow & Associates on the critical importance of developing and implementing a food defense plan to comply with the FSMA rule 21 CFR Part 121 (IA Rule)

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