Terrorists bombing of the US changed the way America transacts business with other countries and its internal policies. All policies attempt to reduce the threat of terrorism. The US Government has taken measures to reduce all avenues that terrorists may target to hurt Americans. One of the avenues that terrorists may use to commit their acts of terror is through biological means. Terrorists may intentionally release biological agents such as bacteria, virus or various toxins to Americans, which are considered to be acts of bioterrorism. Bioterrorism is a relatively new form of terrorism. Terrorists may use food as a bioterrorism target. They may either contaminate the food with various pathogens or interfere with the supply chain.
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The US is always on alert in case of bioterrorism. The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness Act (2002) ensure that the Government prevents, prepares for, and responds to acts of bioterrorism. The US Government requires that all companies that export to the US register with the FDA before the Government allows the company to export to the US. This allows FDA to test the food for any contamination. In addition, the Government necessitates that companies exporting to the US should give the FDA prior notice before shipping the food. This would help prevent the food from interception by terrorists who may contaminate the food or prevent access to the food. It is advisable for people to have a few days’ supply of food always to enable them to deal with any shortage of the food. Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness Act necessitate hospitals to be always on alert. This would enable them to deal with various consequences of bioterrorism. These include the quarantine and hospitalization of a large number of people. Health facilities should be compliant to the National Incident Management System (NIMS) – a set of doctrine that helps in emergency management (Walsh et al., 2011). NIMS compliance helps in coordination of various activities in case of emergencies such as due to terrorism.
Research on the average quantity of food would help identify the average stock of food that people in various social classes have. In addition, the communities should conduct drills to show people’s preparedness and increase awareness of the bioterrorism. Drill would also help people stockpile the right amount of food and water for short-term needs (Breummer, 2011). Undertaking the research on people’s responses in case of terrorism the bioterrorism would help formulate strategies that would help prevent adverse responses in case of terrorism (Onyango et al., 2011). People’s responses determine whether they would be willing to trust various government authorities that attempt to tackle the effects of food shortages. Skepticism may make people fail to follow guidelines that various parties who deal with bioterrorism give them.
Food security is America’s Achilles heel. Lack of food would be more devastating than an oil embargo on the US. This is because people are used to finding their favorite foods on supermarket shelves. Therefore, no one anticipates a shortage of food (Pellerin, 2000). Lack of food may catch people by surprise, therefore, achieving the objectives of the terrorists. Lack of food may lead to temporary malnutrition or even social turmoil. This would have dire consequences on the productivity of Americans. In addition, malnutrition would increase healthcare costs, as it would make people prone to various diseases. Therefore, there must be a high level of public health preparedness to food security.
Science and technology are the major tool that may combat bioterrorism. Science and technology would help in surveillance, prevention, response, decontamination, and forensics in case of biological terrorism. In addition, science and technology may help increase food production to reduce overreliance on imported foods (National Research Council (U.S.) et al., 2002). The Government should invest heavily in science and technology to help increase food security. The private sector may also play a part in investing in science and technology as increased production would ultimately companies that produce food products. The US Government invests vast sums of money in research and development activities whose main target is to increase food security. The genetic research is one of the main areas that the US Government invests in heavily. The genetic research strives to increase both quantity and quality of food, thereby leading to food security.
Public health nutritionists play a pivotal role in bioterrorism preparedness activities. This is because bioterrorism affects food, which is the domain of public health nutritionists. Public health nutritionists would help improve awareness of people to acts of bioterrorism. In addition, public health nutritionists are critical in the formulation of interventions that would help reverse the effects of bioterrorism. Public health nutritionists have the levels of skills that would support preparedness to bioterrorism at all levels. These may be statewide or community level. Public health professionals undergo extensive training on nutritional education and food service management enabling them handle cases of bioterrorism effectively (Breummer, 2011). In the event of bioterrorism, professional associations would help raise awareness among public health nutritionists to make respond to the threats effectively.
The US Government strives to improve the security of all Americans. Terrorists activities of September 11 necessitated the Government to formulate policies that would help detect and prevent acts of terror. Increased monitoring has helped prevent several terrorism activities on that terrorists targeted on the American civilian population. The Government is always on alert in case of terrorism, which may occur through various means. However, the ultimate responsibility lies on the individual Americans. They should take measures to increase their security and report any cases of terrorism to the relevant Government agencies.
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