As emphasised by several studies, food supply chain should be assumed as a possible target for terrorist or criminal attacks aiming to create lack of trust and spread panic in developed countries. On the basis of this assumption USA and Canada have developed specific strategies to prevent and counteract agro-terrorism, generally referred as “food defence” strategies.
In Europe the food supply chain, although identified as a critical sector, has received comparatively less attention in terms of initiatives to reduce potential consequences of deliberate attacks. Although excellence elements can be identified, specific EU prevention mechanisms are missing. Moreover, due to the multi-disciplinarity of the topic, several organisations (e.g. law enforcements, food safety agencies, health organisations, food firms, etc.) in each one of the Member States (MS) are in charge with different strategies and potential solutions. This limits the problem-sharing capability at EU level.
Current analyses and controls on foods and beverages mainly tend to prevent food adulteration rather than focusing on deliberate attacks. Moreover, while conventional controls against food adulteration provide a partial defence against "subtle" large-scale contamination (i.e. those that consider food as a vehicle to delivery CRB agents), they appear not specifically designed to counteract isolated attacks (i.e. those aimed to create primarily panic or induce large market shocks).