Food supply chain safety

  • Feds warn of food-borne, other poison-based threats

    U.S. federal authorities believe a food-borne attack on the U.S. homeland is unlikely, but they are still urging businesses and local law enforcement to keep watch for such an attack and a smorgasbord of other poison-based threats, including the possible contamination of skin products or even handrails at public places

  • Latest terror threat in U.S. aims to poison food

    CBS reports that DHS uncovered a plot to attack hotels and restaurants over a single weekend; the plot uncovered earlier this year is said to involve the use of two poisons — ricin and cyanide — slipped into salad bars and buffets

  • House passes sweeping food safety bill

    The House has passed a sweeping bill aimed at making food safer following recent outbreaks in peanuts, eggs and produce, sending it to President Obama for his signature; the legislation passed Tuesday would give the government broad new powers to inspect processing plants, order recalls and impose stricter standards for imported foods

  • 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

  • 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

  • U.S. supply chain cyber-security weaker, more vulnerable than thought

    New study finds that the U.S. supply chain may be even more prone to cyber-attacks than commonly believed; the alarming study shows how vulnerable the businesses behind the U.S. supply chain and resources network — goods and services forming the backbone of the country’s well-being and economy — are to cyber-attack

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  • Underground "physical Internet" to distribute food, goods

    A start-up proposes automatically routed canisters to replace lorries for the purpose of delivering food and other goods in all weather with massive energy savings; the proposal envisions putting goods in metal capsules 2-meter long, which are shifted through underground polyethylene tubes at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour, directed by linear induction motors and routed by intelligent software to their destinations

  • Senate passes sweeping food safety bill

    The Senate passed legislation Tuesday to make food safer in the wake of deadly E. coli and salmonella outbreaks, potentially giving the government broad new powers to increase inspections of food processing facilities and force companies to recall tainted food; the $1.4 billion bill, which would also place stricter standards on imported foods, passed the Senate 73-25

  • Safety of planned Kansas Biosafety-Level 4 lab questioned

    A new National Research Council report finds “several major shortcomings” in a DHS assessment of risks associated with operating the proposed National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan, Kansas; one example: the report says there is nearly a 70 percent chance over the 50-year lifetime of the facility that a release of foot-and-mouth disease could result in an infection outside the laboratory, impacting the economy by estimates of $9 billion to $50 billion; roughly 9.5 percent of the U.S. cattle inventory lies within a 200-mile radius of the facility; another concern of the committee was the lack of an early-release detection and response system, clinical isolation facilities, and world-class infectious disease clinicians experienced in diagnosing and treating laboratory staff or communities exposed to dangerous pathogens that affect people

  • Novel approach detects unknown food pathogens

    Technologies for rapid detection of bacterial pathogens are crucial to maintaining a secure food supply; researchers have designed and implemented a sophisticated statistical approach that allows computers to improve their ability to detect the presence of bacterial contamination in tested samples; these formulas propel machine-learning, enabling the identification of known and unknown classes of food pathogens

  • U.K. funds £12 million project for quick detection of farm-based disease

    A new device will be able to detect a variety of different infections, making it useful for outbreaks of human diseases, as well as animal ones; by providing a fast verdict on whether an area such as a farm is subject to an outbreak and needs to be quarantined, it could help stop the spread of the disease

  • Seafood stewardship questionable: experts

    The world’s most established fisheries certifier — the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) — is failing on its promises as rapidly as it gains prominence, according the world’s leading fisheries experts; “The MSC is supposed to be a solution, but a lot of what they do has turned against biology in favor of bureaucracy,” says one expert

  • 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

  • Maple syrup producer ends factory floor tours

    For almost a century Maple Grove Farms of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, has produced maple syrup and maple candies; for much of that time, tourists have been able to watch the production process from the factory floor — but not anymore: fears about terrorists, disguised as visitors, contaminating some of the more than twelve million pounds of maple products processed every year lead company to end tours

  • FDA's food-safety monitoring in need of overhaul

    A new study of the U.S. food safety regime finds gaping holes in the system; the study finds that shifting to a risk-based food safety system, utilizing a research infrastructure and integrated federal, state, and local government food safety program, can go a long way towards achieving the safer food supply we all desire