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The Bioterrorism Act and FDA’s New Powers

On June 2002, in response to September 11 and to safeguard the nation from attacks to its food supply, drug supply or water supply, sweeping changes in the powers of a number of federal agencies, including the FDA and USDA.  The new law, the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, is commonly called the Bioterrorism Act of 2002

The FDA and the Fight Against Terrorism, by Michelle Meadows, FDA Consumer magazine, January-February 2004 Issue:

FDA Bioterrorism Act website

FDA Counterterrorism information

Bioterrorism: A Threat to Agriculture and the Food Supply. GAO-04-259T  (November 19, 2003) Highlights  Abstract

Food Safety Guidance in Emergency Situations
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has developed a Guidance document to assist those responsible for planning and overseeing  food operations, especially in emergency  situations, to recognize aspects of their function that influence food safety and to guide them in minimizing risk of foodborne illness.

FDA and Customs Revise Enforcement Strategy on Prior Notice for Imported Foods
FDA Talk Paper, August 12, 2004.  FDA and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have revised a compliance policy guide (CPG) that describes how the agencies will enforce requirements for companies to give FDA prior notice of foods being imported into the United States. The revisions include clarification of how the agencies will handle violations of the prior notice rule.  FDA receives about 160,000 prior notice submissions a week.  Revised Compliance Policy Guide:

Other Resources

Domestic WMD Incident Management Legal Deskbook - the U.S. Defense Department’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has published the first-ever legal guidebook for dealing with mass emergencies.  The 529-page guidebook, entitled is designed as a research tool for lawyers responding to weapons of mass destruction accidents or incidents of terrorism.  “We needed to get our hands around this in some kind of deskbook fashion,” said Gregory Huckabee, a former judge advocate who helped write the book.  “Lawyers aren’t going to have expertise in this - they don’t teach this in law schools.”  The handbook covers statutes -- from quarantine to Posse Comitatus -- that would come into play during an emergency.  Officials from nine federal agencies, including CDC, helped write the book.  “The most important thing about it is the comprehensive nature of all the sources that have been pulled together involved with emergency response,” said Raymond Heddings, the associate general counsel at DTRA, who coordinated the work.  The manual may be the most comprehensive record of federal and state emergency laws written to date.  The guidebook is available online at

The Food Institute's bioterrorism resource page:

Livestock Biosecurity/Agrisecurity from Michigan State University

Agrisecurity resources from Michigan State University

Shared Nightmare Over the Food Supply
Elizabeth Becker, New York Times (December 11, 2004)  When Tommy G. Thompson, the departing secretary of health and human services, used his farewell news conference last week to warn that terrorists could easily poison the nation's food supply, he was, according to this story, saying out loud what he and other experts have been warning since the attacks of Sept. 11.  Other Washingtonians who spend sleepless nights worrying about tainted food can expand on Mr. Thompson's nightmare with the chilling precision of the author Stephen King, and with the knowledge that terrorists can strike the food supply without anyone's noticing.

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