Food industry better prepared to fight bioattacks

The National Center for Food Protection and Defense at the University of Minnesota founded in 2004, has partnered with the food industry to combat potential bioattacks on the U.S. food chain.

The NCFPD prepares for and addresses the vulnerability of the food supply of the United States in case of biological or chemical attack and utilizes the research of undergraduate and graduate students to find success, MN Daily reports.

“[Food] attacks are not a new concept…so it’s not really a question of, ‘Will there eventually be an attack’ – there will,” center director Shaun Kennedy said, according to MN Daily. “It’s, ‘How large-scale and what are we doing to minimize the consequences.'”

The NCFPD uses research on smaller scale situations like salmonella outbreaks to devise simulations and models that will prepare for a global or national attack. By finding out the ways in which an attack on a farm could reach the consumer, the nation has become better prepared than it was a decade ago for such an attack, Joseph Scimeca, the senior director of global regulatory and scientific affairs at Cargill Inc., said, MN Daily reports.

Various businesses that typically compete in the food industry have come together in the Industry Workgroup for the NCFPD to offer guidance, feedback and expertise.
“We have companies like McDonald’s and Burger King, Wal-Mart and Target, and that’s the reason why we have been successful," Scimeca said, according to MN Daily.