The Food Protection and Defense Institute (FPDI), formerly known as the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, was officially launched as a Homeland Security Center of Excellence in July 2004 at the University of Minnesota. Developed as a multidisciplinary and action-oriented research consortium, FPDI addresses the vulnerability of the nation's food system. FPDI takes a comprehensive, farm-to-table view of the food system, encompassing all aspects from primary production through transportation and food processing to retail and food service.

FPDI's research and education program is aimed at reducing the potential for contamination at any point along the food supply chain and mitigating potentially catastrophic public health and economic effects of such attacks. The program incorporates cutting-edge research across a wide range of disciplines, including supply chain management, logistics, epidemiology, risk assessment, economics, molecular biology, food microbiology, biomedical engineering, toxicology, information sharing, supply chain security, cyber security, and risk analysis.

In performing its vision to protect the global food supply through research, education, and the delivery of innovative solutions, FPDI places a high priority on addressing potential threats to the food system that could lead to catastrophic damage to public health or the economy. Specific goals of the program include:

  • Significant improvement in supply chain security, preparedness, and resiliency
  • Development of rapid and accurate methods to detect incidents of contamination and to identify specific agent(s) involved
  • Application of strategies to reduce the risk of foodborne illness in the food supply chain
  • Development of tools to facilitate recovery from contamination incidents and resumption of safe food system operations
  • Rapid mobilization and delivery of appropriate and credible risk communication messages to the public
  • Delivery of high quality education and training programs to develop a cadre of professionals equipped to deal with future threats to the food system

Experts from academia, private sector research organizations, professional organizations, state and federal government agencies, and the food industry are currently involved in FPDI's research and education program.