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

FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (21 U.S.C. 301 et seq.)
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. §§ 8301-8322
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, (animal and animal products) 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
Amendments to the Select Agent and Toxin Regulations (9 CFR 121)

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

Reports– published and made available by CRS beginning in 2017
Subjects- published by CRS and made available by NALC until 2018:

Animal Agriculture
Security and Defense

Reference Resources

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

Emergency Management Safety and Security Division
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 and Emergency Management
Agricultural Federal Select Agent Program

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Food Safety Modernization Act
Biosafety and Biosecurity Framework (2017)
Bioterrorism Act of 2002
Food Defense and Emergency Response
Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and Counterterrorism
Counterterrorism and Emerging Threats

National Agricultural Library (NAL)

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

Fact Sheet: Biosafety and Security in the United States (NIH)

Biosafety and Security in the United States (DHS)

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

The National Strategy for The Physical Protection of Critical Infrastructures and Key Assets

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)

Homeland Security (EPA)

Pandemic Influenza (Dept. of State)

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Bioterrorism (Customs and Border Protection)

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

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)

Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Coordination (USDA)

Avian Influenza (USDA)

Avian Influenza Factsheet (2015)

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 Agroterrorism (2008)

FDA SPPA Initiative (Food and Drug Administration)

OSHA Guide to Bioterrorism (OSHA)


US-India Strategic Dialogue on Biosecurity (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2018)
Plant Biosecurity in the United States: Roles, Responsibilities, and Information Needs (Magarey, Colunga-Garcia & Fieselmann, Nov. 2009)
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)
Agroterrorism in the US (2015, University of Florida)
Fields of Danger: The Looming Threat of Agroterrorism on the United States’ Agriculture (2019, Journal of Biosecurity, Biosafety, and Biodefense Law)
Agro-Terrorism: A New Peril towards Global Food Security (Bhattacharjee et al. 2020, Biotica Research Today)
Effect of welfare standards and biosecurity practices on antimicrobial use in beef cattle (Diana, A., Lorenzi, V., Penasa, M. et al., 2020, Scientific Reports)
Agricultural Biosecurity (The Royal Society)

Additional Resources

The Biosecurity Engagement Program
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)
An Introduction to Infectious Disease Control on Farms
Handling Foreign Animal Diseases in Cattle
Biosecurity of Dairy Farm Feedstuffs
Biosecurity on Dairies
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 (U. GA Coll. of Vet. Medicine)
Committee on Animal Emergency Management Reports (2016, 2017)(U.S. Animal Health Association)
National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (U. MD)
Biosecurity for Prevention of Foreign Animal Disease (NCSU Veterinary School)
Good Practices for Biosecurity in the Pig Sector (Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN)
Biosecurity for Sheep (American Sheep Industry Association)
Biosecurity for Cattle Operations (University of Minnesota Extension)
Biosecurity for Poultry (University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Disease Prevention Guide for Backyard Bird Owners (California Department of Food and Agriculture)
Best Biosecurity Practices In Poultry, Foreign Animal, and Zoonotic Diseases (National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense)
Poultry Game Bird and Hatchery Sanitation and Security (Utah State Extension)
Developing Biosecurity Practices for Feed & Ingredient Manufacturing (American Feed Industry Association)
Controlling Disease in Farm Animals (United Kingdom Government)
Biosecurity- A Practical Approach (Penn State Extension)
Practical Biosecurity Measures for Animal Sanctuaries (The Open Sanctuary Project)
Manure Management for Biosecurity (University of Nebraska- Lincoln)
Plant Biosecurity Science Foundation
Animal Disease Biosecurity Coordinated Agriculture Project