Cyberattacks, Hacking and Phishing Scams: the Food Processing Industry’s Multimillion-Dollar Problem

Food processing facilities have come a long way since pre-industrial days. Each year, food and beverage companies rely more heavily on automation, high-tech building management systems, remotely accessible machine sensors, modern data collection and the latest technology. While these innovations can help facilities run more smoothly, they can also leave them vulnerable to data breaches and cyberattacks. 

In 2020, the average cost of a cyberattack was approximately $3.86 million, according to the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies (PMMI). When computer intrusions happen, cybercriminals are typically seeking out a company’s intellectual property or customer and client data that can be exchanged for digital currencies, like passwords, protected health information, personal identity information and credit card information. 

Every company will be targeted by a malware or ransomware attack at some point. It’s just a matter of when, so it’s vital to have a robust cybersecurity plan that protects your assets and information.

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Arc Flash Hazard Analysis: 4 FAQs

Arc flashes are a potential safety risk when it comes to your manufacturing facility’s electrical equipment. But how can you ensure your employees are protected?

The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) 70E, “Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace,” provides safety procedures for using electricity on the job. One of its guidelines includes “arc flash” assessment and protection.

NFPA 70E is voluntary on the part of companies — that is, it is not enforced by any government agency — yet, we’re seeing more companies interested in conducting an “arc flash hazard analysis” of their electrical equipment.

Here are four frequently asked questions I’ve received about arc flashes and assessments to reduce them:

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7 Security Measures to Increase Facility Safety [Infographic]

Ensuring security and safety at your food or beverage plant has never been more important. Facility owners are increasingly considering how to best protect their product, investments and, most importantly, their employees. Following 9/11, the government even increased security regulations for these processing plants that are so integral to the nation’s food supply.

Of course, no amount of planning can absolutely guarantee safety or prevent an incident, but these design measures are effective at discouraging threats and improving security.

At Stellar, we’ve built numerous food plants, and we’re constantly exploring and designing new security measures into our projects. Here are seven ways to increase safety at your facility:

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How an Innovative Starbucks Processing Plant Takes Food Safety to New Levels

Photography: Robert Pepple

In response to the growing demand for home-brewed instant coffee that delivers true “coffee shop” flavor, Starbucks came to Stellar wanting to build a unique soluble coffee plant. The award-winning facility in Augusta, Georgia, was designed to produce the company’s VIA® instant coffee products, and it’s cutting-edge in every sense of the word.

Among the plant’s many innovations, food safety was a top priority. There are several lessons food and beverage manufacturers can learn from how Starbucks addressed this critical issue.

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