• Congress allocates funds for planning Kansas biolab

    Congress allocates $32 million for planning and design of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas; the money for construction of the 520,000-square-foot lab and the transferring of research equipment from Plum Island, New York — about $915 million — will be released only if security concerns are satisfactorily addressed

  • Citizens worried about Fort Detrick biolab

    A $680 million biolab is being constructed in Maryland; people living in the neighborhood told a panel that the military has not fully considered the possibility of a release of deadly germs by a disturbed or disgruntled worker

  • Improving inspections of agricultural products

    Agricultural goods crossing into the United States are subject to Agricultural Quarantine Inspection (AQI) by DHS’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP); current practices call for inspecting 2 percent of the items in a container; a new study says that applying decision-making theory to inspections would improve them and make them more effective

  • Mandatory automated tracing of food stuffs nears

    There indications the the FDA may soon require food companies to maintain lot and batch information records electronically better to facilitate forward and backward traceability

  • NSF international marks Food Safety Education Month

    NSF, founded in 1944, is a veteran in the food safety business; September is U.S. National Food Safety Education Month, and NSF highlights its different activities aiming to improve food safety

  • FDA requires faster food safety reporting

    FDA unveiled a new electronic database where manufacturers must notify the government, within 24 hours, if one of their products is likely to cause sickness or death in people or animals

  • Agro-terrorism threat is real

    Tim Downs: “Experts have estimated that for a terrorist group to develop a nuclear weapon could cost them a billion dollars….But to develop a very good biological arsenal you would need about ten million dollars and a very small lab and a master’s degree in chemical engineering”

  • Food safety moves up on Americans' agenda

    The problem of food safety has been very much on the minds of Americans this summer; the government and the private sector are doing more to address the problem

  • GAO slams choice of Kansas as location of new BioLab

    In a critical report, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) says that the process by which DHS selected Kansas as the site for the $450 million BioLab was not “scientifically defensible”; GAO said DHS greatly underestimated the chance of accidental release and major contamination from such research; Tornado Alley may not be safe

  • Judge dismisses lawsuit objecting to Kansas location of biolab

    Texas Bio- and Agro-Defense Consortium sued DHS over the department’s decision to build the new BioLab Level 4 in Kansas; judge dismisses case — but without prejudice, opening the way for the consortium to refile the lawsuit later

  • Food poisoning outbreaks prompt oversight efforts, II

    President Obama had an organic vegetable garden planted at the White House, and his nominees to the FDA are pushing a more aggressive approach to food safety; many are are pinning their hopes on the Food Safety Modernization Act, which would essentially split the FDA, creating a separate agency to focus on food safety

  • Food poisoning outbreaks prompt oversight efforts, I

    In 1973, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) employed 35,000 inspectors; in 2007, the FDA employed 6,700 inspectors; at the same time, food imports into the U.S. increased exponentially

  • Schneier: no need to worry about terrorists poisoning food

    Security maven Bruce Schneier says that fears of food-based bioterrorism are exaggerated: The quantities involved for mass poisonings are too great, the nature of the food supply too vast, and the details of any plot too complicated and unpredictable to be a real threat

  • Lax meat-import rules open Canada to bioterrorism

    Former Canadian food inspector says the rules governing meat imports into Canada leave Canadians vulnerable to bioterrorism and outbreaks of dangerous bacteria such as listeria

  • Regulators cannot cope with food counterfeiting, contamination

    New worry: Between the extremes of accidentally contaminated food and terrorism via intentional contamination, lies the counterfeiter, seeking not to harm but to hide the act for profit