USDA recently announced additional efforts in collaboration with states and private industry to protect the nation's food supply from terrorist threats.

“Ensuring the safety of our nation's food supply remains a top priority for President Bush and USDA,” says Dr. Richard Raymond, USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to work with our federal, state and private sector partners so that we can keep our agricultural commodities safe.”

USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will conduct five critical food defense exercises this year. These exercises are designed to practice reporting a non-routine incident while coordinating with all levels of government, non-governmental agencies and the private sector in an incident command system structure.

The first day of the exercise will focus on non-routine incident reporting and how program offices would manage an emergency and the second day will focus on product recall and public health and communication issues. Additionally, FSIS will test its ability to coordinate with organizations outside of USDA, such as the local and state departments of health and agriculture, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as the affected industries.