“More Must Be Done to Protect the Nation’s Food Supply from the Field to the Fork,” says Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), raning member of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security. The subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment conducted a two-part hearing to assess agroterrorism and its potential risk to the U.S. agriculture industry.
Entitled “Evaluating the Threat of Agroterrorism” subcommittee members heard testimony from the intelligence community about specific threats terrorists pose to the U.S. agriculture production and food supply. The U.S. agriculture sector is responsible for one out of every six jobs in the United States and supplies vast amounts of food to other parts of the world, notes Thompson.
“As a Congressman from Mississippi, it gravely disturbs me that it is taking so long to look at ways to ensure our food supply chain is adequately protected from a domestic terrorist attack,” he says.
Thompson contends that local and state agricultural agencies are not equipped with the essential tools needed to counter an attack on U.S. livestock or crops. "We must set things right and make securing our nation’s food supply a priority," he adds.
The United States’ food supply is widely seen as a target of opportunity by terrorists groups. A March 2005 Government Accountability Office report notes that while some progress had been made, fundamental channels of communication and coordination have yet to be established to prevent an agroterror attack.