February 13, 2004
Feb. 13, 2004 -- President George W. Bush has ordered the Departments of Agriculture, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency to work together to create a new system that will protect the nation?s food supply from terrorist attacks.
According to Homeland Security Director Jeremy Stump, ?The final plan will be a farm-to-fork protective shield around the entire food production and distribution sectors.?
The plan was part of a process launched in February 2003 to protect the U.S. agricultural economy and the food supply. It calls for the development of a national livestock identification system by 2005 that has the ability to track infected animals within 48 hours as well as a national veterinary stockpile that would hold enough animal pharmaceuticals to appropriately respond to a deliberate infection within 24 hours.
The agencies will work to expose weak spots in the agriculture and food sectors and then develop ways to strengthen them. By May 2004, USDA will develop a plan to encourage ?self-protection for agriculture and food enterprises vulnerable to losses due to terrorism.?
Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33