Powering Global Collaboration at Food Protection and Defense Institute

During the Ebola crisis, the system enabled the Center to provide virtual work groups that allowed government stakeholders to share information and provide an immediate response to the threat.


Food Protection and Defense Institute (FPDI) was officially launched as a Homeland Security Center of Excellence in July 2004 at the University of Minnesota. A critical component of the nation’s food safety network, FPDI is tasked with addressing vulnerabilities within the nation's food system and coordinating a prompt global response to any deliberate attacks on our food supplies.

FPDI turned to CoSo for a hosted collaboration platform that could securely and reliably connect federal agencies, state and local governments, food manufacturers, and other important members of the nation’s food ecosystem in order to maintain close and constant cooperation in protecting our nation’s intricate food system. This vital communication hub is especially mission critical during times of crisis when any disruption of service or network intrusion puts the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans at risk.


The food and agriculture field is vast and spreads across multiple agencies. FPDI saw the need for a centralized platform to unite those in the nation that needed to coordinate from different organizations, sectors, and physical locations, but it was mindful that the system would generate large volumes of communication threads containing highly sensitive information about our nation’s food supply and threat response plans. Protecting our food system means protecting the information that’s communicated beyond FPDI’s firewall between the Center and its global partners; the Center needed a FedRAMP-Compliant platform that they could 100% depend on to connect with partners via virtual meetings, training, and other sessions while defending against information security attacks and accidental exposure of classified data.


FPDI’s FoodSHIELD proved to be highly effective in combating threats to our nation’s food system. FPDI has since delivered a host of other portals dedicated to specific tasks such as CoreSHIELD, which enables the secure exchange of information for the nation’s critical infrastructures and now serves as the underlying framework for FoodSHIELD. Following this success, several additional portals and applications have been added to FPDI’s portfolio of Information Sharing Environments, including the Food Emergency Response Network, which extends the operational capabilities of the nation’s food-testing laboratories, helping them respond even faster to the biological, chemical or radiological contamination of food.

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