Free Training to Help Ag Industry, First Responders Prepare for, Respond to Agroterrorism

Feb. 13, 2009

HARRISBURG, Pa. , Feb. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Three courses designed to help Pennsylvania's agricultural industry, emergency responders and public health officials better manage the threat of agroterrorism are now open for enrollment, said Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff today.

"Our modern food system is complex," said Wolff. "Everyone plays a role in assuring the safety of our food supply, from farmers and processors to emergency responders and public health officials. It is imperative that these groups work together to recognize and respond to agroterrorism threats to help ensure the continued health of all Pennsylvanians."

The courses will be offered from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. March 3-5 in room 309 of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture building, 2301 N. Cameron St., Harrisburg . The dates and titles of the courses are:

-- Tuesday, March 3 - Principles of National Incident Management System and Risk Communication -- Wednesday, March 4 - Principles of Frontline Response to Agroterroism and Food Systems' Disasters -- Thursday, March 5 - Principles of Planning and Implementing Recovery

The training is provided by the state Department of Agriculture, U.S. Office of Homeland Security, and the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security at the University of California, Davis.

Wolff said the courses are in line with a recommendation from the Strategy for Agriculture and Food Excellence initiative, or SAFE, which is a comprehensive plan to address food safety and defense from the farm to the fork.

"The SAFE initiative is part of our commitment to protect public health through a safe, nutritious and abundant food supply," said Wolff. "By bringing together a cross-section of the food and emergency response sectors, we can gather invaluable information and ensure that Pennsylvania is proactive in developing food safety and security protocols and practices and facilitate cooperation among federal, regional, state and local groups."

SAFE is a cooperative effort between the Pennsylvania departments of Agriculture and Health, in coordination with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, and includes input from food processors, retailers and health officials.

Space for the training sessions is limited and reservations are required. Lunch will be provided.

To register online, or for more information, visit and click on "Agroterrorism/Food Systems Training" and then "Classes by Date." Select "Flyer" next to each of the Pennsylvania classes for more information, or "Register" to register for the courses.

CONTACT: Nicole L. C. Bucher (717) 787-5085

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

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