03/14/2008 - Congressional Democrats find that the FDA failed to meet its own standards for inspection of facilities that process leafy greens, and when it did find violations, the agency took no "meaningful" enforcement action.
11/06/2007 - As in many sectors of the U.S. critical infrastructure, agriculture has made great strides in security since 9-11. A report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) documents some of these achievements, such as ongoing vulnerability analyses conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration to determine which agriculture products are most vulnerable to terrorist attacks. But efforts elsewhere are lagging. For instance, many U.S. veterinarians lack training to identify signs of foreign animal diseases, and the USDA does not use “rapid diagnostic tools” to test animals at the site of a disease outbreak. Also, while imports have increased, agricultural inspections at ports of entry have decreased over the last two years. In addition, states aren’t receiving enough technical federal assistance in developing emergency plans to prepare them to deal with terrorism, the GAO auditors write. The auditors recommend 11 courses of action to improve the U.S. preparedness for agroterrorism. For instance, they call for expediting a USDA draft rule that would require veterinarians to be trained to recognize foreign animal diseases. SM Online has the full report.