September 09, 2008

Homeland Security Creates Tools To Track Food-Borne Illnesses


Source of Article:

Researchers at the Department of Homeland Security's National Center for Food Protection and Defense are developing two new computer tools designed to track the spread of food-borne illness and contamination and to evaluate the food supply chain's vulnerability, Government Health IT reports.

The first tool, called the Consequences Management System, is a computer model that simulates the spread of food illnesses and food poisoning. The DHS Center of Excellences at the University of Minnesota has entered information-sharing agreements with major food manufacturers and processors. The data is fed into the Consequence Management System to predict, track and react to contamination, as well as to identify the origin of the contamination. The system was developed by BT Safety.

The second tool, called the Food and Agriculture Sector Criticality Assessment Tool, is designed to identify the key elements and vulnerabilities of the food and agriculture supply chain. The tool -- developed in partnership with the National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense at Texas A&M University -- is in a design and testing phase. More than 30 state agencies have received the assessment tool to conduct field testing, according to a news release (Lipowicz, Government Health IT, 9/8).



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