Deputy Director


Kerstin Martens
Institute of Farm Economics

Bundesallee 63
38116 Braunschweig
Phone: +49 531 596 5102
Fax: +49 531 596 5199

Bio- and agroterrorism: economic analyses of possible damage scenarios and prevention measures


Bio- and agroterrorism jeopardizes food safety (c) BfR
Bio- and agroterrorism jeopardizes food safety (© BfR)

Securing the feed and food supply chain from bio- and agroterrorism - economic assessment of bio- and agroterrorist attacks and prevention measures

How high is the risk of a bio- or agroterrorist act for companies in the dairy and beef industry? How high are the costs of taking prevention measures and what economic consquences would such an act have for a company?

Background and Objective

Bio- and agroterrorism can have serious health and economic consequences and are increasingly seen as a risk to food safety. This is also reflected in the current version of the international standard IFS (International Food Standard). Here, under the term "food defense" the protection of food from deliberate contamination, and thus terrorist acts, has been added in binding form. This addition requires those companies, that want to be certified according to IFS, to carry out vulnerability analyses and to assess the threat of deliberate contamination. For example, i) the potential health and economic consequences of a deliberate contamination must be assessed, ii) whether and how access possibilities of the company can be checked and iii) the time needed to restore the "normal" level of production in the event of a bio- or terrorist act. This should detect and minimize weak points and risks.The aim of our project was to assess the costs and benefits of prevention measures and the possible economic impacts of bio- and agroterrorist acts.


We first analysed i) the theoretical and empirical research developments with regard to economic evaluations of (deliberate) contaminations in the food supply chain and ii) corresponding institutional frameworks. Based on this, we have looked at the possible economic consequences of bio- and agroterrorist acts. In particular, we considered the costs and benefits associated with prevention measures and intervention measures in selected companies of the dairy and beef industry in Germany.

Data and Methods

We conducted qualitative interviews with experts from the dairy and beef industry.


The risk of bio-and agroterrorist acts led to preventive measures and therefore costs in all the companies under consideration. The expert interviews also showed that the risk of bio- or agroterrorist acts can be significantly reduced if employees are trained and made aware and if stricter access control measures are implemented. Furthermore, it became clear that the economic consequences of an deliberate contamination can be immense for the company. The extent depends mainly on the type of agent (toxins, spores or bacteria), the product concerned and the entry location in the company.


Involved Thünen-Partners


2.2011 - 12.2013

More Information

Projekt type:
Project status: finished

Publications to the project

hits: 4

  1. Rieger J, Hansen H, Belaya V (2014) Sicherstellung der Futter- und Lebensmittelwarenkette bei bio- und agroterroristischen BAT)-Schadenslagen (SiLeBAT) : Teilvorhaben: Ökonomische Bewertung von BAT-Schadenslagen sowie von Interventionsmaßnahmen ; Abschlussbericht (Gekürzte Fassung unter Berücksichtigung der Vertraulichkeitsvereinbarungen). Braunschweig: Thünen-Institut für Betriebswirtschaft, 34 p
  2. Wilke T, Belaya V, Pinior B (2012) How to measure food safety : a review of the relevant literature. In: Rickert U, Schiefer G (eds) Proceedings of the 6th International European Forum on Innovation and System Dynamics in Food Networks (Igls-Forum), 13.-17.02.2012 in Innsbruck (Österreich). pp 61-83
  3. Belaya V, Hansen H, Pinior B (2012) Measuring the costs of foodborne diseases: a review and classification of the literature : Vortrag anlässlich der 52. Jahrestagung der GEWISOLA "Herausforderungen des globalen Wandels für Agrarentwicklung und Welternährung" Universität Hohenheim, 26. bis 28. September 2012 [online]. GEWISOLA, 13 p, zu finden in <> [zitiert am 10.01.2013]
    pdf document (limited accessibility) 389 kb
  4. Belaya V, Hansen H (2012) Ökonomische Bewertung von Lebensmittelskandalen: Theoretische Überlegungen und erste empirische Befunde am Beispiel des Dioxin-Vorfalls 2011 [Poster]. Schr Gesellsch Wirtsch Sozialwiss Landbaues 47:467-468