Food securityProtecting the U.S. Food Supply Chain

The Department of Homeland Security (DHSScience and Technology Directorate (S&T) says it is ahead of the pack when it comes to ensuring that the food we eat and our agricultural supply are safe. An attack on our food supply—whether from intentional tampering, or due to contagious animal disease—could be dangerous to human health and could cause long-lasting economic impacts.

For S&T, food defense is a critical aspect of protecting the nation and our citizens. It is why S&T is working with partners across DHS and other federal agencies to ensure every step in the food supply chain is safe and secure—from farms, where crops and livestock are grown, to manufacturing facilities, where food products are processed, packaged, and then distributed to stores, and on to Americans’ kitchen tables. To achieve this, S&T is developing resources such as risk assessments to help the sector focus on the highest risk areas, so we can trust that the food we eat is safe, especially during a pandemic. These resources include developing tools for preventing and securing food from intentional adulteration during processing, developing animal disease vaccines and detection tools, and studying and characterizing toxic chemicals and pathogens that can contaminate food.

This large and important effort calls for a coalition of top experts: S&T, through its Office of Mission and Capability Support (MCS), the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) and the Chemical Security Analysis Center (CSAC), is collaborating with the DHS Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office (CWMD) and others across DHS and the federal government, like the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It’s a dream team: CWMD ensures the work meets congressional mandates and has the necessary support; MCS leads the agricultural and veterinary program efforts, and PIADC and CSAC (as part of the S&T’s Office of National Labs) do the science. These organizations contribute to the Food, Agriculture and Veterinary Defense (FAVD) strategic program.