• Kansas House cuts troubled agency's role in funding of bio lab

    DHS has chosen Kansas State University (KSU) in Manhattan, Kansas, as the location for the new, $650 million Level 4 BioLab, which will replace the aging lab on Plum Island, New York; the federal laboratory will be the U.S. premier facility for research into countering possible bioterrorism attacks and threats to the nation’s food supply; the Kansas Bioscience Authority (KBA) was supposed to handle the issuing of $105 million in bonds to develop the lab, but the KBA’s chief executive has recently resigned under a cloud, and the agency’s business practices are now being investigated the Johnson County District Attorney; the Kansas House voted to cut the KBA out of handling the bond issue; “We didn’t want any kind of hint of a problem,” said one House member

  • Risk of agroterrorism growing

    The United States imports so much of its food and food ingredients from other countries, that terrorists have many more opportunities to harm Americans and damage the U.S. economy; a high FDA official said that increased U.S. attention to the issue and questions over whether hostile actors have the technical capacity to mount such an attack notwithstanding, the likelihood of being poisoned by intentionally contaminated food is growing

  • Mystery of 200 dead Wisconsin cows solved

    Researchers find the cause of the mysterious deaths of 200 cows in Wisconsin: the sweet potato; the animals were killed by a poison found in spoiled sweet potatoes that were part of the cattle’s feed

  • New U.S. food safety law goes into effect

    On 15 December the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its first estimate since 1999 of the toll of food-borne diseases in the United States: 48 million people sick each year, 128,000 hospitalized, and 3000 deaths; in the biggest overhaul of food safety in the United States since the 1930s, President Barack Obama yesterday signed a law giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) more power to inspect and shut down food producers yesterday, President Obama; critics say the law does not go far enough

  • Fourth International Symposium on Agroterrorism announced

    The fourth International Symposium on Agroterrorism is scheduled for 26-28 April 2011, at the Hyatt Regency and Westin Crown Center Hotels in Kansas City, Missouri; it will focus on the need closely to communicate and coordinate among private industry, law enforcement, government agencies, science, academia, and the health and medical professions in order to protect the global food supply

  • Hope for Plum Island in unease about Kansas biolab?

    Last month the National Research Council issued a safety report which concluded that there is a 70 percent chance of pathogen release from the proposed Manhattan, Kansas BioLab-4 over a 50-year period; The New York congressional delegation points out that upgrading safety at Plum island will cost far less than the $400 million price tag for the Kansas lab

  • Hutchinson: Canada's food system at risk from terrorism

    Fomer DHS undersecretary Asa Hutchinson says the Canadian food industry is not sufficiently protected from tampering and potential terrorism; the Canadian food industry points out that Canada’s food safety system is tied for fourth place with the United States, behind Denmark, Australia, and the United Kingdom

  • Veterinary students train to help in agro-terrorism situations

    Because of the number of feedlots in Kansas, the state could be a prime target for agro-terrorism; Kansas State University veterinary medicine students take part in two different U.S. Department of Agriculture preparedness programs: the foreign animal disease practitioner’s training course and agriculture emergency response training; the programs train veterinarians to aid in relief efforts and protect the public in hazardous situations

  • Calls in Canada for better protection against fertilizer bomb threat

    The Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers wants a comprehensive plan of action to prevent agricultural supplies such as fertilizers from becoming tools of terrorists; the association calls for an “integrated crop input security protocol” for Canada’s 1,500 agri-retail sites; this plan would include perimeter fencing, surveillance and alarm devices, lighting, locks, software, and staff training in various security techniques, at retail outlets; estimated cost: $100 million

  • Wisconsin researcher punished for unauthorized research on bioterror agent

    A university of Wisconsin researchers conducted unauthorized research on bioterror agent; the researcher developed antibiotic-resistant variants of brucellosis and tested them on mice; the University of Wisconsin was fined $40,000 by the National Institutes of Health, and the professor was ordered to stay out of a lab for five years

  • Farmers are first line of defense against agroterror

    A rogue crop duster, someone tossing an infected rag over the loafing lot fence, or an upset employee with access to a food processing facility could conceivably commit an act of agroterror with widespread and dramatic consequences

  • Farmers, ranchers urged to be aware of agroterrorism

    South Dakota’s U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson says all aspects of agriculture can be targets of terrorists, but Johnson said meat production is the most vulnerable; “Livestock are the number one target for terrorists attacking the agriculture system…. If you want to get a bunch of cattle sick at once, it’s not rocket science on how to do it”

  • Raising awareness about the risk of agroterrorism

    A day-long event in California’s Central valley sees farmers, terrorism specialists, and law enforcement officials discuss threat, impacts, and response needs involved in a potential terrorist attack on the area’s thriving agricultural sector

  • Food facilities failing to register with FDA

    The Bioterrorism Act of 2002 requires food facilities — exempting farms, retail facilities, and restaurants — to register with the FDA; the FDA had expected about 420,000 domestic and foreign food facilities to register because of the 2002 law; according to an FDA spokesman, as of 14 December, 392,217 facilities had registered — 157,395 in the United States and 234,822 foreign facilities that export to the United States

  • Senator Cochran’s earmark savvy benefits Mississippi biodefense center

    Republican Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi is famous for his support of federal earmarks and regularly ranks near the top among senators for the number and size of his annual earmark haul; on Sunday the Senate passed a $1.1 trillion omnibus federal spending bill for the 2010 fiscal year, and Cochran managed to insert $150 million worth of earmarks for Mississippi; among the beneficiaries is Jackson State University’s National Center for Biodefense Communications, which conducts research and compiles data on bioterrorism threats to agriculture, and which is slated to receive $750,000 through the bill