Agricultural Biosecurity



Recent events, specifically the attacks of September 11 and the discovery of cows with BSE within the United States, have highlighted significant vulnerabilities in the United States’ agriculture and food sector to dangerous pathogens and agents either intentionally or unintentionally introduced into the system. To address this newly-understood threat, Congress, the White House, federal agencies and state governments have bolstered current food safety and security regimes and created some new regulatory authority. The resulting system sees numerous agencies with varied responsibilities in ensuring the security of the agricultural and food system, with the primary agencies’ being the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Read the full overview


Note: Recently added resources are posted at the top of the applicable sections.

Major Statutes

Bioterrorism Act (Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002)(codified throughout Titles 7, 21, 29, and 42)

Codified sections focusing on Agriculture and Food Security:

Agricultural Bioterrorism , 7 U.S.C. § 8401
Registration of Food Facilities, 21 U.S.C. § 350d
Maintenance and Inspection of Records, 21 U.S.C. § 350c

Virus-Serum-Toxin Act, 21 U.S.C. §§ 151-159

Homeland Security Act, 6 U.S.C. §§ 101-557

Animal Health Protection Act, 7 U.S.C. §§ 8301-8317

Animal Enterprise Terrorism, 18 U.S.C. § 43


Prior Notice of Imported Food Shipments, 21 C.F.R. §§ 1.276 – 1.285

Bioterrorism Act, FDA Food Safety Regulations, 21 C.F.R. Parts 1, 20

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, (animals) 9 C.F.R. Parts 1-199

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, (plants) 7 C.F.R. Parts 300-399

Department of Homeland Security, 6 C.F.R. Parts 1-99

Possession, Use, and Transfer of Biological Agents and Toxins, 7 C.F.R. Part 331

Federal Register Rules Open for Comment

Case Law

Case Law Index for Biosecurity

Center Research Publications

States’ “Fence Law” Statutes (R. Rumley)

Role of Regulation in Minimizing Terrorist Threats Against the Food Supply: Information, Incentives, and Penalties (Roberts, 2007)

Congressional Research Service Reports

CRS Subject(s):

Animal Agriculture
Security and Defense

Reference Resources

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

Emergency Management: Homeland Security Branch
Biosecurity for the Birds
Biosecurity on U.S. Sheep Operations
Biosecurity and Health Management on U.S. Swine Operations
Biosecurity on Dairies
Biosecurity: Protecting Your Livestock and Poultry
Crop Biosecurity (PPQ)
Agricultural Select Agent Information

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Bioterrorism Act of 2002
Food Defense and Emergency Response
Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and Counterterrorism

National Agricultural Library (NAL)

Health School Meals Resource System: Food Security and Emergency Preparedness (Animal Welfare Information Center – AWIC)
Rural Homeland Security Resources for Local Officials (Rural Information Center – RIC)

Congressional Resources

Homeland Security Hearing, July 17, 2002 (U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee)

Agroterrorism Hearing, Nov. 19, 2003 (U.S. Senate Governmental Affairs Comm.)

Reports on Bioterrorism (Government Accountability Office)

Agroterrorism Hearing, Nov. 19, 2003 (U.S. Senate Governmental Affairs Comm.)

Other Federal Resources

Presidential Directive on Defense of United States Agriculture and Food (Feb. 3, 2004)

National Strategy for Homeland Security, Protecting Critical Infrastructure and Key Assets (The White House)

Bioterrorism (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Bioterrorism (Customs and Border Protection)

Homeland Security Measures for Agriculture (EPA, Nat’l Agricultural Compliance Assistance Center)

Avian Influenza (Dept. of State)

Avian Influenza (Cntrs. for Disease Control & Prevention)

Agricultural Biosecurity Taking on Increased Importance (Dept. of Energy)

Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia: Biodefense and Bioterrorism (National Institute of Health)

Homeland Security

Avian Influenza Fact Sheet

Animal & Plant Biosecurity (National Institute of Food and Agriculture)

Food Defense & Emergency Preparedness (FSIS – Food Safety & Inspection Service)

Guide for Security Practices in Transporting Agricultural and Food Commodities (FSIS, 2004)

Criminal Investigation Handbook for Agrotourism (2008)


Resources Directory for Security Practices in the Transportation of Agricultural and Food Commodities (Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference, 2004)

Agroterrorism in the U.S.: Key Security Challenge for the 21st Century (Cupp et al., Biosecurity and Bioterrorism, 2004)

Hitting America’s Soft Underbelly: The Potential Threat of Deliberate Biological Attacks Against the U.S. Agricultural and Food Industry (Chalk, Rand, 2004)

Crop Biosecurity and Countering Agricultural Bioterrorism: Responses of the American Phytophatological Society (Oct. 2002)

The Bio-Terrorist Threat to Agricultural Livestock and Produce (Chalk, Rand, 2003)

Agroterrorism: What Is the Threat and What Can Be Done About It? (Rand, 2003)

Countering Bioterrorism: The Role of Science and Technology (National Academies Press, 2002)

Terrorist Threats to Food: Guidance for Establishing and Strengthening Prevention and Response Systems (WHO, 2002)

Terrorism, Infrastructure Protection and the U.S. Food and Agricultural Sector (Chalk, Rand, 2001)

The US Agricultural Sector: A New Target for Terrorism? (Chalk, Rand, 2001)

Responding to the Threat of Agroterrorism (Kohnen, Harvard U., Kennedy School of Government, 2000)

Additional Resources

Biosecurity Posts (Ag & Food Law Blog)

Farm Agrosecurity (eXtension, 2008)

National Agricultural Biosecurity Center (KS St. U.)

Food and Agriculture Security (National Association of State Departments of Agriculture)

Biosecurity for Agriculture and Food Production (FAO)

Targets for Terrorism: Food and Agriculture (Council on Foreign Relations)

Bovine Alliance on Management & Nutrition (BAMN)

An Introduction to Infectious Disease Control on Farms

Handling Foreign Animal Diseases in Cattle

Biosecurity of Dairy Farm Feedstuffs

Biosecurity on Dairies

Criminal Justice Resources: Agro-Security (MI State U.)

Overview of Agricultural Biosecurity (CIDRAP, U. MN)

Agricultural Security Information Resource (Humanitarian Resources Institute)

Biosecurity Guide for Pork Producers (National Pork Board)

Agroterrorism and Biosecurity (U. TN)

AgroTerrorism (Clemson U.)

Agroterrorism (U. GA Coll. of Vet. Medicine)

Committee on Animal Emergency Management (U.S. Animal Health Association)