Prepared for Bioterrorism Events? A Study of the Grain and Oilseed Sector
One of the most crucial problems facing the U.S. economy is the possibility of a terrorist attack on its food sector. The implications can be profound for its stakeholders, who are highly dependent on this sector for their economic livelihood as well as their food supplies. The U.S. Bioterrorism Act of 2002 was enacted to improve the ability of the United States to prevent, prepare for and respond to bioterrorism and other public health emergencies. One of the important features of the U.S. Bioterrorism Act of 2002 is its emphasis on prevention, a change from prior legislation that focused on punishments after an incidence had occurred. The U.S. Bioterrorism Act does not address food safety issues in general; its focus is to prevent intentional contamination. The objective of this study was to assess the preparedness to potential bioterrorism in the grain and oilseed sector based on facility security expenditures and history of security breaches. The study was conducted as a research activity under the multistate project NC-1016 “Economic Assessment of Changes in Trade Arrangements, Bio-terrorism Threats and Renewable Fuels Requirements on the U.S. Grain and Oilseed Sector.” In addition to assessing preparedness, the study investigated the relationship between adoption of security measures and breaches in facility security. Finally the study documents, for a small sample, the extent to which grain and oilseed facilities appear to be following regulations that implement the U.S. Bioterrorism Act.
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