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Bioterror

 
PDF] Dr Ted Labuza Bioterrorism and Food Distribution page # 1
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
Group C- Milk Bioterror Scenario. Liu - Rosenberg - Strohman. Contact. Dr.
Theodore Labuza. Department of Food Science and Nutrition ...
courses.che.umn.edu/00fscn8318-1s/2003%20Faculty%20Folder/ Biosecurity/8318Logistics-Bioterror3B&W.pdf - Similar pages
 

Bioterror in the Heartland: Confronting the Specter of Agriterror
S Insights - ccc.nps.navy.mil
... sheep, deer and elk” that is “so swift and debilitating that milk and meat ... At the
time, some speculated this was a case of bioterror directed against ...
View as HTML - Web Search

Hemorrhagic fevers and bioterror.
SA Berger, I Shapira - Isr Med Assoc J, 2002 - ima.org.il
... Hemorrhagic Fevers and Bioterror ... or contact with the body fluids or organs of infected
animals and possibly by aerosol or by ingestion of contaminated milk. ...
View as HTML - Web Search - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Destruction of Bacillus anthracis strain Sterne 34 F 2 spores in postal envelopes by exposure to …
SE Niebuhr, JS Dickson - Letters in Applied Microbiology, 2003 - blackwell-synergy.com
... the envelopes, as initial attempts to place the non-fat dry milk directly into ... to
Biohazardous Material and for Ensuring Mail Security Against Bioterror Attacks ...
Web Search - ingentaconnect.com - ingenta.com - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov - all 6 versions


The challenge of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases
DM Morens, GK Folkers, AS Fauci - Nature, 2004 - nature.com
... The 2001 anthrax bioterror- ist attack in the United States 6 falls into a ... infect
agricul- tural animals, gaining access to humans through food, milk, water or ...
Cited by 13 - Web Search - nature.com - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
 
Biotechnology: Impact on Biological Warfare and Biodefense
JB Petro, TR Plasse, JA McNulty - Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, …, 2003 - dx.doi.org
... This bioterror threat represents a significant challenge to organizations and agencies ...
animals include goats that secrete insulin or spider silk in their milk. ...
Cited by 7 - Web Search - liebertonline.com - montegen.com - biosecurityjournal.com - all 9 versions
 
Water AND Bioterrorism: Preparing for the
PL Meinhardt - arjournals.annualreviews.org
Page 1. 10 Nov 2004 :1008 AR AR238-PU26-17.tex XMLPublish SM (2004/02/24)
P1: JRX AR REVIEWS IN ADVANCE10.1146/annurev.publhealth ...
Web Search - arjournals.annualreviews.org

 

Commentary > The Monitor's View
from the
August 17, 2005 edition

Protecting Food From Terrorists

At last, government safeguards start to kick in

 

The Monitor's View

 

Until recently, the US government gave a low priority to the risk of a biological terrorist attack on the nation's food supply.

Fortunately, that neglect of "agroterrorism" is changing quickly - and for good reason.

 

Trying to shake American lethargy, former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson left his post last December with a sober warning: "I, for the life of me, cannot understand why the terrorists have not, you know, attacked our food supply, because it is so easy to do."

 

True, the Bioterrorism Preparedness Act of 2002 has some provisions on agroterror. But it was not until late 2003 that the first major congressional hearing devoted solely to this subject was held - and January 2004 before a critical presidential directive on food security kicked into gear. Now, after a slow start, the US is taking notable steps to protect this soft target.

 

At the first-ever international conference on agroterrorism in Kansas City in May, FBI Director Robert Mueller noted that federal departments and agencies, including the FBI, CIA, US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration, and Department of Defense now meet regularly to identify threats and develop responses to agroterror.

 

Terrorists have studied the idea

 

"We know that members of Al Qaeda have studied our agriculture industry," Mr. Mueller remarked with candor. Others note that 9/11 hijackers were investigating crop-dusting planes.

With agriculture making up 13 percent of the economy and 18 percent of employment, the devastating results of an agroterror attack could go far beyond human casualties and include an economic crisis and a loss of confidence in government. Even a false alarm over agroterrorism can prove costly. Some may recall the 1989 Chilean grape scare: A terror group phoned the US embassy in Chile claiming cyanide was in that country's grapes. The cost was an entire crop of Chilean fruit and about $200 million in lost revenue.

 

Lately, a bumper crop of signs show agroterror is now being taken more seriously.

 

Last month, the Bush administration announced a "strategic partnership" that will send public health and homeland security experts to each state to help pinpoint vulnerabilities in the agriculture and food sectors. Funding at USDA for research and other efforts to counter agro-terrorism doubled in the first two years after 9/11. The USDA has coordinators to develop emergency response plans. And in June, food importers were required to give prior notice of their shipments.

 

But the US still lacks sufficient veterinarians to recognize foreign animal disease; and the ability to rapidly diagnose and treat the problem with vaccines is limited, the General Accountability Office (GAO) noted in a March report. Also missing is an honest reassessment of the physical processes and management of concentrated animal feeding operations.

 

The meat industry's profitable practice of breeding and rearing livestock and poultry in highly concentrated settings - with massive feed lot operations - can make the nation a "vulnerable target," the GAO wrote.

 

Between 80 and 90 percent of grain-fed beef cattle is concentrated in under 5 percent of the nation's feed lots, the GAO found. Introduction of an animal disease into even a single feed lot "could have serious economic consequences," the investigative agency wrote. The Congressional Research Service last year came to a similar conclusion.

 

If, as seems likely, concentrated animal feeding and processing leaves the nation and meat industry at risk, then along with calls for more attention to faster response times, vaccines, and disease diagnoses should come study of structural and process issues in animal operations that make the US food supply vulnerable.

 

Risk-cost trade-off

 

What needs to be determined is the risk-cost trade-off, because substantially changing something so fundamental as the centralized processing of animals could be hugely disruptive. Distributing livestock into smaller groups, for instance, or slowing the pace of transporting animals to better test them might reduce the risk of a bio-attack, but could prove prohibitively expensive. Such big-picture questions need to be raised, but also assessed for their practicality.

 

 

 

 

 

Terrorists could poison milk, report says

By Steve Sternberg, USA TODAY

Wed Jun 29, 6:52 AM ET

Terrorists could poison thousands of people by dumping a toxin in the nation's milk supply, says a report published today by the National Academy of Sciences over government objections.

The authors, Lawrence Wein and Yifan Liu of Stanford University, used publicly available information to demonstrate that the nation's milk supply may be vulnerable to contamination with botulinum toxin. Just one gram of toxin released into the milk supply chain could poison more than 100,000 people; 100 grams could affect nearly 600,000, says their report in the online Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"The dairy industry is an obvious target," the researchers assert.

Botulinum toxin, the active ingredient in Botox, deadens nerves, making it difficult to breathe without mechanical support. Without treatment, at least 50% of affected people die, doctors say.

Wein notes that milk is safer today than it once was, because of improved Pasteurization procedures. In the last two years, many milk producers have voluntarily begun sealing tanker trucks to guard against contamination, says Chris Galen of the National Milk Producers Federation.

Nevertheless, Wein says, much remains to be done. "It's been almost four years since the Sept. 11 attacks, and outside this heroic effort to improve the Pasteurization process, there's been very little effort to move from food safety to food security," he says.

The researchers based their calculations on an attack at a single processing facility, supplied by a steady stream of 5,500-gallon trucks that pour raw milk into 50,000 gallon tanks for processing. Each gallon of milk is typically consumed by one child and three adults in 3 days, they say.

The paper was to be published May 30, but it was delayed at the request of Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services Steward Simonson, who called it a "road map for terrorists." HHS spokesman Bill Hall says: "Our concern is that if the academy is wrong, the consequences are going to be dire, and it's going to be HHS, not the academy, that has to deal with it."

Bruce Alberts, president of the academy, says in an accompanying editorial that the article contains no information useful to terrorists that is not already available on the Internet. He says highlighting vulnerabilities could help biodefense.

Wein says one effective safeguard is a new 15 minute test that could be used while raw milk is still in tanker trucks undergoing routine testing for antibiotic residues.

Galen says protecting milk from contamination is more important. "We're not going to be cavalier about safety issues," he says, "but there's no practical way to test for every adulterant under the sun."

Medical care for several hundred thousand people poisoned by botulinum, the authors say, would cost "tens of billions of dollars."

 a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

 

 

 

 

Report on Potential Milk Terrorism Threat Published

From: http://www.technewsworld.com/story/ZODw3rSCUhWscm/Report-on-Potential-Milk-Terrorism-Threat-Published.xhtml#

The study by Lawrence M. Wein and Yifan Liu of Stanford University discusses such questions as how terrorists could release botulinum toxin into the U.S. milk supply and what effective amounts might be.

A scientific article about the possibility of terrorists poisoning thousands of people through the milk supply was published over the government's objections after the National Academy of Sciences concluded that terrorists would not gain any know-how from the report.

Bruce Alberts, president of the Academy, defended the decision to publish the material, saying yesterday that the information could be valuable for biodefense.

Delayed Publication

A terrorist would not learn anything useful from the article about the minimum amount of toxin to use, Alberts said in an accompanying editorial. "And we can detect no other information in this article important for a terrorist that is not already immediately available to anyone who has access to information from the World Wide Web."

The study by Lawrence M. Wein and Yifan Liu of Stanford University discusses such questions as how terrorists could release botulinum toxin into the U.S. milk supply and what effective amounts might be.

Publication of the article had been delayed at the request of the Department of Health and Human Services. HHS spokesman Bill Hall said yesterday the agency still feels the material shouldn't have been made public.

"We respect the Academy's position, but we don't agree with it," Hall said. The "consequences could be dire and it will be HHS, and not the Academy, that will have to deal with it."

Science has a long tradition of publishing new information in peer-reviewed journals, providing an opportunity for other researchers to confirm findings and advance to a next step.

Concerned About Too Much Info

However, following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, some government officials have raised concerns that by obtaining biotechnology data terrorists might be able to engineer deadlier versions of diseases.

The milk threat paper and editorial were published yesterday on the Academy Internet site and will appear in the July 12 print edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

It was originally planned for publication on May 30 but was withheld at the request of Stewart Simonson, assistant secretary of Health and Human Services, who contended the paper was a "road map for terrorists."

Simonson said the paper provided too much detail on potentially vulnerable areas of the milk supply, processing and distribution systems and argued that its publication "could have very serious health and national security consequences."

Wein said yesterday he was surprised when Simonson raised objections. He said he had met with officials of HHS, the White House, the Department of Homeland Security and the dairy industry last fall to discuss the paper.

After that, Stuart Nightingale, an emergency preparedness official at HHS, asked to see the paper, Wein said. He said he sent it to Nightingale, and, when he didn't hear back, he assumed there was no problem.

"I think PNAS [the publication] acted professionally," Wein said. It was correct of them to delay the paper and listen to the government concerns, he said.

Toxin Details

A key question is the percentage of botulinum toxin that would be inactivated by milk pasteurization, and Alberts, the Academy president, said that in those discussions with HHS officials, the Academy learned improvements had been made to the process since the terrorist attacks.

Because of those improvements, the nation may be safer from such an attack than the paper estimated, he said.

However, Alberts added, many food protection guidelines are voluntary and there is "everything to be gained by alerting the public and state governments to the dangers so that they can help the federal government in its ongoing, highly laudatory, attempts to reach 100 percent compliance with its guidelines."

The report describes the milk supply chain from cow to consumer. It describes points where toxin could be introduced, such as a holding tank at a farm, a truck transporting milk to the processing plant or a raw milk holding tank at the plant.

One gram of toxin could affect as many as 100,000 people and 10 grams up to 568,000, the researchers concluded. A gram is about the weight of a paper clip.

Wein and Liu suggest a number of steps to prevent an attack including locking of tanks and trucks when not in use. They urge the government to require similar protections for the food industry overall.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private institution that provides scientific advice under a Congressional charter.

2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
2005 ECT News Network. All rights reserved.

 

Feds: Science paper a terrorist's road map

Health agency seeks to halt scholarly publication

Tuesday, June 7, 2005 Posted: 9:33 AM EDT (1333 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The federal government has asked the National Academy of Sciences not to publish a research paper that feds describe as a "road map for terrorists" on how to contaminate the nation's milk supply.

The research paper on biological terrorism, by Stanford University professor Lawrence M. Wein and graduate student Yifan Liu, provides details on how terrorists might attack the milk  supply and offers suggestions on how to safeguard it.

The paper appeared briefly May 30 on a password-protected area of the National Academy of Science's Web site.

Journalists use that area of the Web site to get advance copies of articles slated for publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

People who downloaded the Wein-Liu paper called the Food and Drug Administration for comment, and the FDA notified the Department of Health and Human Services, which asked the academy to stop the article's publication.

The paper "is a road map for terrorists and publication is not in the interests of the United States," HHS Assistant Secretary Stewart Simonson wrote in a letter to the science academy chief Dr. Bruce Alberts.

The paper gives "very detailed information on vulnerability nodes" in the milk  supply chain and "includes ... very precise information on the dosage of botulinum toxin needed to contaminate the milk  supply to kill or injure large numbers of people," Simonson wrote.

"It seems clear on its face that publication of this manuscript could have very serious public health and national security consequences."

Simonson wrote that acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Lester Crawford was joining him in the request to halt publication.

Officials of HHS and the academy said they are to meet Tuesday to discuss the article.

"The academy has been dealing with the issue of scientific openness versus national security since 9/11," said academy spokesman Bill Kearney.

"The academy [members] are strong advocates of scientific openness while ensuring that nothing is done to aid terrorists."

Kearney said the NAS routinely vets papers for security concerns before publishing them and had vetted the Wein-Liu paper.

After HHS raised concerns, the NAS decided to "take a step back and make sure that we weren't putting out anything that we're uncomfortable with," he said.

NAS is a private, nonprofit society of scientists and engineers chartered by Congress to advise the government on science and technology.

HHS spokesman Marc Wolfson said Wein showed a draft of his paper last fall to HHS staffers, who expressed concern about the level of detail in the paper.

"He, at that time, indicated that he was going to work it over a bit and he'd be back to us, back to HHS, if and when he submitted it for publication. That was the last we ... heard from him," Wolfson said.

Wein told CNN he would withhold comment until after the HHS and NAS meeting.

A week ago, The New York Times published an op-ed article by Wein outlining a possible attack scenario.

Under the most likely scenario, he wrote, a terrorist would buy toxin from an overseas black market laboratory, fill a one gallon jug with a sludgy substance containing a few grams of botulin, and pour it into an unlocked milk  tank, or into a milk truck at a truck stop.

He wrote that the FDA guidelines for locking milk  tanks should be made mandatory, and said the dairy industry should improve pasteurization to eliminate toxins.

Wolfson said he cannot recall another instance in which HHS has asked a scientific publication to withhold an article on national security grounds.

 

 
 
 

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