MI5 is hunting food industry experts for its National Security Advice Centre, which provides counter-terrorism expertise.
The spooks are looking for people probably with a scientific or engineering qualification and security experience, according to an ad in this issue of Food Manufacture (p81). Successful candidates, who are unlikely to be offered a position for about eight months because of the vetting procedures, will work as consultants to the government and industry. Their role will include carrying out risk assessments and training.
The Society of Food Hygiene Technology (SoFHT) said that the industry was becoming increasingly aware of the threat of 'bio-terrorism'. At a conference on December 1, it will publish a survey into how prepared the top 350 UK companies' and the food sector in general is to terrorist attack.
The SoFHT chairman Neil Griffiths said: "The food industry is a prospective target for terrorists. Therefore any food business must be aware of the potential risks and have effective anti-terror measures built into their day-to-day systems."
Up for discussion at the conference will be how the traceability systems which are required by law from January 2005 could help food and drink companies to manage bio-terrorism risk.