WASHINGTON, July 26, 2005 - The U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of
Health and Human Services' Food and Drug
Administration (FDA), Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) today announced a new
collaboration with states and private industry
to protect the nation's food supply from
"Ensuring the safety of our nation's food
supply is a top priority for President Bush and
USDA," said Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns.
"This partnership demonstrates our commitment as
government and the private sector work together
to protect our agricultural commodities from
terrorism. We look forward to working with our
The Strategic Partnership Program
Agroterrorism (SPPA) Initiative supports
President Bush's requirements directing the
government to work closely with states and
industry to secure the nation's food supply.
Announced today at the Food and Agriculture
Sector Coordinating Council meeting, four pilot
visits will be conducted in September and
October. The purpose of these visits is to
assess and identify vulnerabilities in the
agriculture and food sectors.
"As one of the lead federal agencies charged
with protecting our nation's food supply, the
FDA fully supports this initiative encouraging a
closer working relationship with our partners in
federal and state government, as well as the
private sector to make the nation's food even
safer," said FDA Commissioner Dr. Lester
Crawford. "This partnership brings together all
of the organizations that have the best
knowledge and abilities in safeguarding the food
we eat starting from the farm all the way to our
Over the next year, teams of federal and
state officials will travel to all 50 states to
meet with all sectors of the food chain.
Together, the federal, state and private
industry partners will discuss security issues
from farm-to-table and consider ways to better
protect our food supply.
"We are pleased to participate in this
important initiative to enhance the overall
security of our nation's food and agricultural
infrastructure," said Robert Stephan, Assistant
Secretary for Infrastructure Protection, U.S.
Department of Homeland Security. "The health of
our citizens and our economy depend on our
ability to conduct assessments, validate field
information and provide guidance that can be
shared with our federal, state and local, tribal
as well as private sector partners."
These visits will help the federal partners
better consider how states and industry can
protect the food supply, gain more information
about the food industry's protection needs and
assist government and private industry in
refining its efforts including research and
This effort is the second major joint
initiative for the federal partners. In May
2005, FBI, with the support of DHS, USDA and FDA
hosted the first ever International Symposium
for Agrosecurity in Kansas City, Mo.
Additional information about agrosecurity can
be found on USDA's Web site at http://www.usda.gov/homelandsecurity;
the FDA Web site at www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/bioterrorism.html;
and the DHS Web site at www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/display?theme=43&content=3802.