Utilizing strategic planning tools to develop a disaster response initiative for retail and distribution perishable product companies

Michael T. Talbot, Jean-Pierre Emond


The mission of the UF/IFAS Center for Food Distribution and Retailing (CFDR) is to provide the food industry and the scientific community with a unique environment for developing knowledge that will assure food quality and safety through the whole distribution chain. In light of recent large scale disasters and the potential for future natural and manmade disasters, a need was identified to develop a new initiative related to disaster response for retail and distribution center perishable product companies. This project will expand the CFDR mission and there is excellent potential for coordination with the Extension Disaster Education Network. The strategic planning for this new research project area is presented including potential partners; Florida Division of Emergency Management, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, USDA, NASA (cryogenic cooling), member companies of the CFDR, and other industry groups. Initial project activities include assessment of the current impact of disaster on the whole retail food chain, inventorying existing plans for post-disaster activities and fact-finding industry working groups, to develop dialog with the overall objective of establishing industry norms and areas needed of research. Potential research projects could investigate movement of perishable products prior to the disaster, providing mobile electric energy capability, use of short-term cryogenic cooling, certification of food quality for redistribution, decontamination of food materials, alternatives to land fill disposable of destroyed food materials, methods to improved food resupply and distribution to the disaster area from distant sources. Industry input will assist with establishing project priorities and determining the state of the industry in dealing with the food distribution system when it is disrupted by disasters, methods to maintain refrigeration cooling energy during disasters, efficient and economical waste disposal, etc.


disaster response; food safety; food distribution

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283