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


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.

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Mohtadi, Hamid. 2009. “Developing Risk Metrics to Estimate Risks of Catastrophic Biological and Bioterrorist Events: Applications to the Food Industry.” In Wiley Handbook of Science and Technology for Homeland Security, ed. John G. Voeller. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9780470087923.hhs415/abstract

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