WASHINGTON – After the Department of Homeland Security warned of possible terrorist threats to U.S. food supplies, including at grocery stores and restaurants, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is asking for details on what the agency is doing to identify and respond to these threats.
“Making sure that the food families put on the table every day is safe to eat is of the utmost importance,” said McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “I’m glad that the Department of Homeland Security is taking threats to our food supply seriously, and I look forward to hearing more from the agency about their efforts to protect our country’s food supply.”
The Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis issued a bulletin earlier this year that discussed the threat violent extremists could pose by poisoning or contaminating U.S. food supplies. In a letter to the agency’s Acting Secretary Elaine Duke, McCaskill asked for details on the evidence of threats to food supplies and what the agency is doing to identify and protect against them. “American farmers, processors, distributors, retailers, and inspectors take great care in ensuring that our nation sets a global standard for food safety,” McCaskill wrote. “As a result, Americans often take great confidence—and sometimes even take for granted—that the food they buy at grocery stores and restaurants is safe to eat. I am concerned about any threat that could undermine that confidence in our country’s food supply.”
McCaskill has served on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee since joining the Senate in 2007, and has made protecting American families at home and abroad a top priority. Earlier this year, President Trump signed into law a bipartisan bill led by McCaskill and Republican Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas to protect the nation’s agriculture industry by addressing the threat of agro-terrorism and mitigating the risks to food put on tables across the country. McCaskill’s bill to reauthorize the Department of Homeland Security’s program that targets transnational criminal organizations on the border and at U.S. ports in order to combat drug and weapons trafficking and other crimes was recently approved by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Recently, McCaskill’s Committee released a report raising concerns over proposed cuts of over half a billion dollars to grant programs that support state and local counterterrorism preparedness programs, including Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams, which conduct sweeps of airports, train stations, and bus terminals in an effort to safeguard against terrorist attacks.
Read McCaskill’s letter to Duke HERE.