Food Supply

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Status Brief

Developmental Milestones/Developments to Date:

Current Assessment/State of the Field:




Stellman, Jeanne, et al., “The Extent and Patterns of Usage of Agent Orange and Other Herbicides in Vietnam.Nature, Vol. 422, 681. April 17, 2003.

  1. ”Herbicides including Agent Orange were sprayed by the United States forces for military purposes during the Vietnam War (1961-1971) at a rate more than an order of magnitude greater than for similar domestic weed control.” – page 681
  2. ”Herbicide mixtures, nicknamed by the colored identification band painted on their 208-liter barrels, were used by the United States and Republic of Vietnam forces to defoliate forests and mangroves, to clear perimeters of military installations, and to destroy “unfriendly” crops as a tactic for decreasing enemy food supplies. The best known mixture was Agent Orange” – page 681
  3. ”Agent White was less satisfactory than Agent Orange because several weeks were required for defoliation to begin. Agent Blue was the agent of choice for crop destruction by desiccation throughout the entire war.” – page 682
  4. ”Although Agent Purple is, indeed, likely to have been more highly contaminated with tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), it is also likely that the mean TCDD levels in Agent Orange were far higher for much of the herbicide use.” – page 684
  5. ”Large numbers of Vietnamese civilians appear to have been directly exposed to herbicidal agents, some of which were sprayed at levels at least an order of magnitude greater than for similar US domestic purposes. Other analyses being carried out by us show large numbers of American troops also to have been directly exposed or to have served in recently sprayed areas.” – page 686
  6. ”NAS-1974, a comprehensive study carried out by The National Academy of Science, found the HERBS file, a chronological record which contained flight path coordinates of Air Force spraying missions, to be a powerful tool for studying exposure to herbicides.” – page 686

Military, Public Health, Chemical, Food Supply, WMD


Neuman, William, “U.S.D.A. Plans to Drop Program to Trace Livestock,NYT, B2, 2/5/2010.

  1. “Faced with stiff resistance from ranchers and farmers, the Obama administration has decided to to scrap a national program [the National Animal Identification System] intended to help authorities quickly identify and track livestock in the event of an animal disease outbreak.”
  2. “they  would start over in trying to devise a livestock tracing program that could win widespread support from the industry.  …it would be left to states many aspects of a new system, including requirements for indentifying livestock.”
  3. “New federal rules will be developed but … apply only to animals being moved in interstate commerce. …It could take two years or more to create new federal rules.”
  4. “The [present] system was created by the Bush administration in late 2004 after the discovery in late 2003 of a cow infected with mad cow disease.”
  5. “[Some] believed the voluntary system would be become mandatory…”
  6. ‘The old system … gained the participation of only 40 percent of the nation’s livestock producers.”

Food Supply, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Emergency Response, Biosurveillance


Olson, Dean., “Agroterrorism: Threats to America’s Economy and Food Supply,” FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 81(2), 1-9 Last checked: September 16, 2012

  1. “Terrorists consider America’s agriculture and food production tempting targets. They have noticed that its food supply is among the most vulnerable and least protected of all potential targets of attack.”
  2. “A subset of bioterrorism, agroterrorism is defined as “the deliberate introduction of an animal or plant disease for the purpose of generating fear, causing economic losses, or undermining social stability.”
  3. “The agroterrorism threat emanates from four categories of perpetrators. The foremost threat is posed by transnational groups, like al Qaeda — widely believed to present the most probable threat of inflicting economic harm on the United States,…economic opportunists tempted to manipulate markets,…domestic terrorists who may view the introduction of FMD as a blow against the federal government,…[and] militant animal rights or environmental activists pose a threat because they consider immoral the use of animals for food.”
  4. “Now, al Qaeda places its emphasis on smaller, independent attacks following a “‘death by a thousand cuts” strategy to exhaust, overwhelm, and distract U.S. Department of Homeland Security forces’”
  5. “Usama Bin Ladin consistently had argued that attacking the U.S. economy represented the best way to destroy America’s ability to project military power abroad”
  6. “Analysts believe that al Qaeda’s evolving tactics increasingly will “focus on targets that will yield the most economic damage.”
  7. “The ability to employ cheap and unsophisticated means to undermine America’s economic base, combined with the added payoff to potentially overwhelm its counterterrorism resources, makes livestock-and food-related attacks increasingly attractive”

Agriculture, al-Qaeda, Food Supply, Sabotage, Public Health