Mid-sized processors required to keep traceability records
“The Bioterrorism Act's requirements on traceability and record keeping come into effect June 9 for medium sized processors, part of a regulatory push to ensure the safety of the food supply chain. In addition to shouldering the burden of increased costs, processors and others in the food chain are now liable under the federal law for keeping traceability records. These records must hold data tracking the immediate sources of their supplies and the recipients of their products along the chain, a system known as ‘one-step forward, one-step back.’ The June 9 deadline applies to companies employing 11 to 499 full time employees. Processors who employ 500 or more full-time employees had to be in compliance by December 9, 2005. Those employing 10 or fewer employees have until December 11, 2006 to put a traceability system in place. To help companies understand and meet the rules the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week issued an updated guidance on the requirements for establishing and maintaining records.” (Food Production Daily USA, 08Jun06) http://www.foodproductiondaily-usa.com/news/ng.asp?n=68308-fda-traceability-bioterrorism
Anthrax scare reported in parliament
“London Police Thursday questioned a man who reportedly created an anthrax scare in the parliament by throwing some white powder. Sky News reported the central lobby of parliament was sealed off and officers wearing protective overalls, gas masks and gloves were summoned after the powder was thrown. The alert ended a half-hour later after police determined the powder was harmless.” (The Washington Times, 08Jun06) http://washingtontimes.com/upi/20060608-020530-3745r.htm
Substance found in downtown Jackson [Mississippi] building not ricin or anthrax
“A suspicious agent found Wednesday at the AmSouth Building in downtown Jackson is not ricin or anthrax, results show. The Mississippi Department of Health Public Health Laboratory released final results today. The definitive test results were available within 24 hours because the suspicious agent did not grow bacteria within a 24-hour period. ‘If the sample does not produce bacteria within a 24-hour period, we consider the test results negative for an agent such as anthrax or ricin,’ said Jim Craig, Director of Health Protection with the Mississippi Department of Health.” (The Clarion-Ledger, 08Jun06)
OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] recommends ‘VPP Star status’ for Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility safety and health commitment
“An Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) review team has unanimously recommended the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (UMCDF) for OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) “Star” status because of its exemprary performance and commitment to safety and health. Final approval of the recommendation is expected from OSHA later this year. The VPP promotes effective worksite-based safety and health.
Companies in the VPP program are assigned ‘Merit’ or ‘Star’ status, with “Star” representing the highest achievement. The program sets performance-based criteria for a managed safety and health system, and then assesses applicants against these criteria. UMCDF is only the second chemical weapons demilitarization site in the nation to be recommended for VPP Star status. The Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (ANCDF) in Alabama was recommended for Star status last month. Currently in Oregon, only five companies have been awarded Star status, and four others have Merit status.”
(U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency, 08Jun06) http://www.cma.army.mil/docviewerframe.aspx?docid=003675590
Waste Handling Error at ABCDF [Aberdeen Chemical Agent Disposal Facility]
“Monday afternoon, June 5, a cart of low level agent-contaminated waste was mistakenly taken out of the Aberdeen Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (ABCDF) Ton Container Cleanout (TCC) Building. The waste remained on site just outside the building for less than an hour when plant workers recognized their error and directed the fork-lift driver to take the cart back inside the TCC building. The waste was generated by workers decontaminating and dismantling equipment inside the TCC and consisted of miscellaneous items such as vacuum cleaner hoses and fiberglass decking.
Air monitors inside the TCC indicated mustard agent vapor was below established worker protection limits before, during and after the removal of the wastes, and upon its return. As a precautionary measure, all non-essential personnel were evacuated from the TCC before the waste was returned. As a further precaution, six workers who were close to the waste were medically evaluated. ABCDF’s medical director determined that none of the workers had exposure symptoms and they returned to work.”
(U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency, 07Jun06)
Agencies analyze responses to nightmare scenario at U.S. ports
“Emergency response officials consider it the nightmare scenario. It begins with terrorists taking over a Liberian cargo ship shortly before it enters New York harbor. They ram it into a crowded Staten Island ferry leaving lower Manhattan and then explode a ‘dirty bomb’ nuclear device. Meanwhile, a mine detonates under a cargo vessel near Norfolk, VA, effectively shutting down another of the East Coast's busiest ports and its biggest naval base until Navy minesweepers can clear the shipping channels of any more explosives. Federal, regional, state and local agencies would ideally communicate smoothly during such a maritime crises and a coordinated recovery effort would be fully under way in a matter of four hours, said officials at a two-day port security conference in lower Manhattan sponsored by the Annapolis, Md.-based U.S. Naval Institute, a nonprofit group.” (SignOnSanDiego; 08Jun06; Richard Pyle, AP) http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/nation/terror/20060608-0049-portsecurity.html
In An Emergency Experimental Testing Can Occur Without Patient’s Permission
“In a public health emergency, suspected victims would no longer have to give permission before experimental tests could be run to determine why they're sick, under a Federal rule published Wednesday. Privacy experts called this exception unnecessary, making way for abuse and an override of state informed-consent laws. AP reports health care workers will be free to run experimental tests on blood and other samples taken from people who have fallen sick as a result of a bioterrorist attack, bird flu outbreak, detonation of a dirty bomb or any other life-threatening public health emergency, according to the rule issued by the Food and Drug Administration.” (All Headline News, 08Jun06, Jacob Cherian)
New Sensors Add Security To ‘T’ Stations [in Pennsylvania]
“The War on Terror continues right here in our hometown. After attacks on transit systems overseas, the Port Authority of Allegheny County has installed new sensors for added security. In the ‘T’ stations, there is an elaborate system aimed at sniffing out explosives, biological weapons or nuclear agents, monitored 24 hours a day at a dispatch center. There are five sensors at the Steel Plaza ‘T’ station. The federal government covered the cost to get the sensors. For Chief Stephen McCauley, it’s a drastic change in how his force patrols the transit system. Even though these sensors are high-tech, there’s still no replacing the human eye.”
RI [Indonesia] to join U.S.-led security arrangement
“Indonesia will likely join the United States-led Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) on weapons of mass destruction, the defense minister says. The voluntary agreement, which is non-binding and can be ratified in stages, unites member countries in fighting the spread of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. At least
85 countries have ratified the agreement, including the Netherlands, Australia, France, New Zealand, Sweden, Spain, Japan and Singapore.
Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono said Thursday the country's possible involvement in the multinational security agreement would not be permanent. Indonesia's readiness to join the initiative was discussed by Juwono and U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld during the latter's visit to Jakarta on Tuesday. Juwono said Indonesia was considering joining the pact because the U.S. as a world superpower played an important part in global economics and international security.” (The Jakarta Post, 09Jun06, Tiarma Siboro) http://www.thejakartapost.com/misc/PrinterFriendly.asp