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SurveyU.S. residents want to spend more to protect food supply from terrorists

Agriculture.com Staff 03/22/2006 @ 9:45am

Economists at the University of Minnesota today announced results from a national survey that indicates the public is willing to spend more money than is currently allocated to prevent future terrorist attacks, including potential attacks on the U.S. food supply.

The survey found that nearly 98% of U.S. residents believe there will be another terrorist attack in their lifetime, and more than half believe at least one attack will occur within the next five years. The survey, which polled 4,200 respondents, was funded by the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, a Department of Homeland Security Academic Center of Excellence.

Those surveyed say they believe a subway or railway bombing is the most likely terrorist activity. While deliberate contamination of the food system was considered the least likely of the potential terrorist attacks covered, 44% still said they expect an attack on the food supply chain within the next four years.

Respondents said they believe that a greater percentage of anti-terrorist spending should go to protect the food supply than to protect against any of the other types of terrorism. "These results show the American public expects their food supply to be well protected," said Jean Kinsey, Ph.D., co-director of the University of Minnesota's Food Industry Center and co-investigator on the survey. "The food industry has worked hard to keep accidental contaminants from entering the food supply chain. Consumers obviously expect the same kind of effort to be made to protect against deliberate contamination."

The survey showed U.S. residents believe 19% of anti-terrorism spending should be allocated to protecting the food supply. That amounts to more than $5.5 billion. Tom Stinson, Ph.D., associate professor of applied economics and co-investigator on the survey, said current federal spending in that area is "nowhere near that amount."

Read the complete survey http://foodindustrycenter.umn.edu.

Economists at the University of Minnesota today announced results from a national survey that indicates the public is willing to spend more money than is currently allocated to prevent future terrorist attacks, including potential attacks on the U.S. food supply.

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