Legislators target agriterrorism

| 10/19/2001

A task force recently formed by the United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association is one of the tools being used to ensure the United States has a continued supply of fresh and untainted produce.

The nation now spends about $1 billion per year on food safety, mainly to combat food-borne illness. Now, Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) wants to spend an additional $1.6 billion to combat chemical and biological threats on America's food supply. "Borders no longer stop threats," said Edwards.

He is introducing legislation to hike funding for public health, vaccinations, protection of the food supply, and coordination among federal and state agencies. The funds reportedly also will cover training, surveillance and international cooperation.

Edwards is joined in his quest for food safety by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WI), the American Farm Bureau, the Texas Agriculture Commission and a number of specialists in the public health sector.