Serial No. 107-14: USDA Biosecurity Programs and Authorities: Hearing before the Committee on Agriculture, House of Representatives, 107th Congress, First Session, November 15th, 2001 [open pdf - 220KB]
USDA Deputy Secretary James Moseley testifies that food supply contamination or food flow interruption in the event of a malicious act would negatively impact not only America but the world. Accordingly, he stresses that "it is a safety issue, but it is an economic one as well". Texas Representative Larry Combest states that "we must temper or (sic) natural desire to take action with a certain degree of caution. It would be a cruel irony if in our haste to respond to the actions of Osama bin Laden, we do more economic damage to our food production system than the al Qaeda does." Both the FDA and the USDA regulate food inspection activities. The USDA is concerned with BSE and Foot and Mouth Disease and is reviewing APHIS (Animal and Plan Health Inspection Service) and FSIS (Food Safety Inspection Service) procedures accordingly. Security of USDA facilities is also a priority. Vulnerabilities and response plans to intentional food contamination is being studied. In particular, the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points pilot program comes under question. Also discussed are the USDA's relationship with the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Inspector General. Congressmen question the progress of USDA's APHIS program as it applies to America's port and border entry points. Ms. Murano of the USDA describes the FBAT (Food Biosecurity Action Team) program as a combination of FSIS and APHIS personnel. During questioning session, more attention is leveled at natural diseases than intentional terrorist attacks.
Serial No. 107-14