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FDA Announces the Availability of "CARVER + Shock Vulnerability Assessment Tool"

Constituent Update

June 19, 2007

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is introducing its latest food defense resource, the CARVER + Shock Vulnerability Assessment Tool. This software tool, available at the link below, can be used to help you assess vulnerabilities within your food production system or infrastructure. It allows you to determine the relative vulnerabilities of specific steps within your production process. By conducting a vulnerability assessment that would identify potentially vulnerable points, you can then use the tool to test changes in your process to better focus your resources toward reducing potential vulnerability.

The CARVER + Shock tool uses an offensive targeting prioritization methodology originally developed by the Department of Defense that has been adapted for use in the food sector. FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service have applied this methodology to assess vulnerabilities of the farm-to-table supply chains of various food commodities. The risk-ranking methodology utilized by the software system was adapted to assist food facility operators in helping to identify preventive measures to increase the security of products and operations. The name "CARVER + Shock" is an acronym derived from the six attributes that the system uses to evaluate vulnerabilities of potential targets.

  • Criticality - measure of public health and economic impacts of an attack
  • Accessibility - ability to physically access and egress from target
  • Recuperability - ability of system to recover from an attack
  • Vulnerability - ease of accomplishing attack
  • Effect - amount of direct loss from an attack as measured by loss of production
  • Recognizability - ease of identifying target
  • Shock - the combined health, economic, and psychological impacts of an attack

FDA's overall goal in developing the CARVER + Shock Vulnerability Assessment Tool is to make this methodology available to the food industry and assist in the identification of areas where enhancements in preventive measures could help to increase the security of the food supply.

The CARVER + Shock Vulnerability Assessment Tool is a no-cost software program that operators can download and use independently. The program will generate results, customized to your specifications, that are available only to you. No one else, including the FDA, will have access to your results or other confidential information you have entered into the program. The program is easy-to-use and contains a tutorial to help you get started. The tool is free of charge and available to the industry through the CFSAN Food Defense website.

Please submit questions about the CARVER + Shock Vulnerability Assessment Tool through the CFSAN Food Defense website.


Notification of Changes affecting the Food Chemicals Codex

The FDA would like to make stakeholders aware of recent changes affecting the Food Chemicals Codex (FCC).

The FCC is an internationally recognized compendium of food additive and food ingredient specification monographs. Until recently, the FCC was an activity of the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine. In August 2006, the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) announced that it had assumed the responsibility for publishing and distributing future editions of the FCC. The FCC plays an important role in maintaining the safety of food additives and ingredients by providing manufacturers in the United States and abroad with critical identity and purity specifications.

The USP is currently in the process of developing a sixth edition of the FCC. On June 15, 2007, new and revised draft monographs under consideration for the sixth edition of the FCC were made available for a 60 day public comment period on USP's FCC website (See: FCC Forum Exit Disclaimer ). Stakeholders should be aware that the FDA will no longer notify the public of the availability of FCC monographs for comment.

For further information contact Daniel Folmer, Office of Food Additive Safety, CFSAN, FDA (; 301-436-1274).

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