As the world reels from the terrorists attacks on New York and Washington on 11 September, those vested with control of the US’ food supply have been discussing ways to bolster federal standards against the threat of “agro-terrorism”.
Experts have warned that crops, livestock, food and beverages are all open to sabotage by terrorists, and are urging food companies, supermarkets and restaurants to bolster their security systems in light of last month’s attacks.
The Senate Agriculture Committee met with USDA Secretary Ann Veneman last week to discuss security protocols and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has revealed that it is seeking an additional 400 food safety inspectors in a bid to protect the nation’s food supply from potential terrorist acts.
Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl revealed last week that the FDA would increase its inspectors by 60%. The extra 400 staff will be distributed as follows: 200 at food import inspection points, 100 to undertake FDA’s domestic food inspections and another 100 in FDA laboratories.
FDA commissioner Bernard Schwetz recently met with Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson, the outcome of which was that the FDA has demanded increased funding for vaccines to combat illnesses such as smallpox, which could potentially be released in biological terrorist attacks.