Senator warns of bioterror attack on food chain

The U.S. continues to import a bulk of its food supply and this causes many government officials to fear that an agroterrorist attack is inevitable.

Senator Pat Roberts, a Republican from Kansas, was one of the individuals voicing their concern about this viable threat at the International Symposium on Agroterrorism held this week.

“Experts in the field warn, this threat is not an ‘if’ but a ‘when,’" Roberts said on Thursday, the last day of the symposium, according to “The effects of such an attack would be devastating. Halting exports or shipments of agriculture production and all other exports due to contraction of disease by just one animals would have a ripple effect unlike we have seen in the U.S.”

Approximately 600 delegates from around the country attended the three day symposium that was held in Kansas City. The FBI and its Joint Terrorism Task force helped sponsor the event.

A former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Roberts played a lead role in getting the $450 million National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility built on the Kansas State University campus, reports. The NBAF, scheduled to be fully operational by 2018, will focus on biological threats such as anthrax and foot-and-mouth disease.

Roberts’s concerns were also shared by members of congress as they recently passed the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011. The act, which aims to heighten federal food regulations, was signed into law by President Obama in January.