• 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

  • Senate panel approves food safety bill

    The Senate last week passed a new food safety bill which would impose user fees, allow mandatory recalls, set performance standards, and impose civil penalties; some business associations are uncomfortable

  • Demands grow for improved global food supply chain

    New study: “Food can become contaminated at many different steps in the supply chain. Experience in conducting food-borne disease outbreak investigations suggests that improved product tracing abilities could help identify products associated with disease more quickly, get risky products off the market faster, and reduce the number of illnesses associated with food-borne illness outbreaks”

  • Preparing for agroterror attacks in Wisconsin

    FDA awards funds to states’ program aimed at making the food supply chain better protected against agroterror attacks; the Wisconsin program will use the money to fund a computer program using licensing and inspection information to develop computer maps that track where contaminated food may have been distributed

  • Possible costs of tougher U.S. food safety bill worry small farmers

    Small farmers worry about a rewrite of the U.S. food safety regulations expected to be debated by a Senate committee this week; in particular, small farmers say rules designed to prevent transmission of food-borne illnesses by large growers and packers will overwhelm small growers

  • FDA releases updated Food Code

    The Food and Drug Administration has released the updated FDA Food Code; there are more than 1 million restaurants, retail food stores, and vending and food service operations in institutions such as schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and child care centers in the United States; the Food Code provides all levels of government with practical, science-based guidance regarding regulation of these food-handling organizations, and with manageable, enforceable provisions for mitigating known risks of food-borne illness

  • Bipartisan WMD commission: U.S. failing to address urgent biothreat

    Interim report assesses progress in preventing WMD proliferation and terrorism

  • Kansas officials confident that BioLab project will not be derailed

    Congress has allocated $32 million for the design of the Manhattan, Kansas biolab which will replace the aging Plum Island facility; Congress conditioned the release of the rest of the money on the result of studies examining the risks involved in building a biolab in “Tornado alley”; other states that wanted the lab have been slow to give up the fight

  • Some in the livestock industry worry about disease lab's Kansas location

    Two national cattlemen’s organizations say moving the study of dangerous pathogens to the mainland would be unwise because a tornado or other mishap could allow diseases to escape into the surrounding animal population; supporters say facility presents no risk to agriculture

  • FDA awards 83 grants in FY2009 totaling $17.5 million

    The Food and Drug Administration awarded $17.5 in grants to improve food safety by emphasizing improved response, intervention, innovation, and prevention