The threat of terrorism through the use of unconventional technological means cannot be ignored. The food and agriculture industry can be a vulnerable target for the terrorists given the potential high level of health and economic damage that can be achieved by attacking this sector.
In consideration of this threat a consortium of partners (led by University of Torino and funded by the European Commission) aims at establishing a virtual centre for competence in plant and food biosecurity to enhance preparedness and response capabilities to prevent, respond and recover from a biological incident or deliberate criminal activity threatening the European agrifood system.
The consortium includes a range of partners from different fields of study who bring diverse experience and expertise to the project, and is constituted by the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (United Kingdom); the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (United Kingdom); Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitaet Bonn (Germany); Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (France); the Regional Environmental Centre for Central and Eastern Europe (Hungary); the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine (United Kingdom); Middle East Technical University (Turkey); SPIN-TO SRL (Italy); The Agricultural Research Organisation of Israel – The Volcani Centre (Israel); Oklahoma State University (United States of America); and the Kansas State University (United States of America).
As a project partner UNICRI is involved in facilitating the assessment of risk posed by agro terrorism. UNICRI in collaboration with other partners is in the process of preparing a report analysing the representation of environmental, biological and social impacts of agro-terrorism. UNICRI will also assist in the development of specific scenarios to facilitate the assessment of biosecurity perception at the general public and research levels.