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Developing Risk Metrics to Estimate Risks of Catastrophic Biological and Bioterrorist Events: Applications to the Food Industry

Part 3. Key Application Areas

1. Agriculture and Food Supply

  1. Hamid Mohtadi1,2

Published Online: 15 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470087923.hhs415

Wiley Handbook of Science and Technology for Homeland Security

Wiley Handbook of Science and Technology for Homeland Security

How to Cite

Mohtadi, H. 2009. Developing Risk Metrics to Estimate Risks of Catastrophic Biological and Bioterrorist Events: Applications to the Food Industry. Wiley Handbook of Science and Technology for Homeland Security. 3:1:1–17.

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

  2. 2

    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 MAR 2009

Abstract

If the food sector is attacked, the likely agents will be chemical, biological or radionuclear (CBRN). This article provides an overview of ongoing research on international terrorist/criminal activity involving such agents. The issue is the ability to calculate the likelihood of rare but catastrophic risks and in this case, the risk of a catastrophic terrorist attack. The analysis is based on using a statistical method known as extreme value statistics to estimate this risk. The article argues that such a method is an appropriate tool for studying high impact, low frequency events. The pronounced nonstationary patterns within the data suggest that the “reoccurrence period” for such attacks is decreasing every year. Similarly disturbing trends are evident in a broader dataset which is nonspecific as to the methods or means of attack.

Keywords:

  • extreme value theory;
  • catastrophic risk assessment;
  • biological weapons;
  • chemical weapons;
  • food supply chain;
  • terrorism