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Agroterrorism workshop: engaging community preparedness.

Levin-J; Gilmore-K; Nalbone-T; Shepherd-S
J Agromed 2005 Jan; 10(2):7-15
Agroterrorism is the deliberate tampering with and/or contamination of the food supply with the intent of adversely affecting the social, economic, physical, and psychological well-being of society. Testimony before the Government Affairs Committee of the U.S. Senate has suggested that agriculture is an area that has received comparatively little attention with regard to terrorism. In February of 2004, the NIOSH Southwest Center for Agricultural Health, Injury Prevention, and Education developed a workshop on agroterrorism designed to engage local community leaders in a process to prepare for and respond to a terrorist event involving the food supply. The workshop was an effective collaboration between NIOSH Ag Centers, the state department of health (Texas), a school of public health, and the Texas Agricultural Research and Extension Centers in five urban and rural locations with substantial agricultural production. In order to reach a diverse and geographically widespread audience, the workshop was conducted by synchronous two-way interactive televideo (9 geographic sites). The audience of 155 participants was comprised of numerous stakeholders. The workshop format involved separate modules addressing food and fiber, livestock and poultry, food distribution, and emergency preparedness, with participants developing priorities for future consideration within their communities to address all phases of an event from preparedness to follow-up debriefing. There were 13 additional individuals (for a total of 168) who participated in the workshop subsequently through use of a video. Workshop evaluation components included pre- and post-workshop objective assessment of factual information presented (tests), and follow-up for implementation of priorities developed by conference participants. Statistically significant improvement was noted in knowledge acquisition. The six-month follow-up demonstrated implementation of preparedness planning priorities. This is an effective method of reaching a geographically widespread and diverse audience of community members who will be on the front lines of an agroterrorism event. An attempt was made to enhance communication and collaboration among involved groups for effectively detecting and addressing such an event. This workshop can serve as a model for use in other communities.
Food; Foodstuff; Food-processing-industry; Food-contaminants; Agriculture; Agricultural-industry; Occupational-hazards; Hazards; Health-hazards; Food-handlers
Department of Occupational Health Sciences, University of Texas Health Center at Tyler, TX, 75708-3154, USA
Publication Date
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Journal Article
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Cooperative Agreement
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Source Name
Journal of Agromedicine
Performing Organization
University of Texas Health Center at Tyler