Source of Article: http://www.reporternews.com/news/2008/jul/26/a-real-threat-terrorists-tampering-with-food/
The deliberate contamination of the nation's food supply is a serious threat.
In January 2004 the Bush administration responded to the threat of contamination of the nation's food supply with a Homeland Security Presidential Directive, according to an April report from Trust For America's Health titled "Fixing Food Safety: Protecting America's Food Supply From Farm-to-Fork."
The directive calls for a coordinated national approach to countering threats to the food supply. The directive tasked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security with leading national food defense efforts while working in coordination with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Despite increased responsibility and concern, the Food and Drug Administration has not received additional funding to support food-related anti-terrorism activities, while the USDA has received an additional $150 million, the TFAH report said.
One tool used by the FDA and the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service is a computer program that assesses the vulnerabilities within supply systems and infrastructure.
Interested parties work with food safety officials on a voluntary basis to identify weaknesses in their systems. Once these vulnerabilities are identified, food growers, producers and manufacturers can focus resources on protecting the most susceptible points in their system.
Critics contend that there are no means to ensure that farmers and manufacturers implement such measures to protect the food supply.
The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 includes a number of provisions designed to improve the food safety efforts of the FDA in cooperation with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, including new authority to protect the food supply against terrorist acts and other threats.
According to the Customs and Border Protection Web site, under a special agreement, customs personnel at many ports of entry around the country have been formally commissioned and trained to conduct cargo and other examinations.
-- Brian Bethel
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