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Plenary Session

Intentional Food Contamination Case Studies and Agency Response

Robert Simmons- Supervisory Special Agent, FBI

The presentation provides insight into an investigation of a food tampering threat. 

Brief Bio: SSA Robert Simmons joined the FBI in 2006 and was assigned to the Sacramento Division, Fairfield Resident Agency.  In Fairfield, Simmons worked both criminal and national security programs.  Simmons transferred to the Chicago Division in 2010 and was initially assigned to investigate International Terrorism matters.  Simmons subsequently served as Chicago’s Crisis Management Coordinator and Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordinator.  Simmons currently serves as the supervisor for Chicago’s Threat Assessment squad. 

Fred StephensWMD Coordinator, Minneapolis Division

Fred will be presenting a case study involving food contamination of salad bar

Brief Bio: Currently the Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordinator for the Minneapolis Division of the FBI.  He has experience working various types of investigations to include WMD, Terrorism, and Violent Crimes and has experience as a member the of the FBI Evidence Response Team and Hazardous Evidence Response Team.

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Brad Deacon- Director, Office of Legal Affairs & Emergency Management, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

In late April 2016, an alert employee in a SE Michigan grocery store noticed a customer spraying a substance on ready-to-eat food items. The store contacted local law enforcement and the situation quickly escalated to involve multiple public health and law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal levels. It also quickly became public, making national news as authorities looked for the suspect, labs tested samples, public health looked for potential human illnesses, and food regulators coordinated with the private sector. This presentation will cover the timeline of events and the levels of coordinated response to an incident of national interest, as well as lessons learned from a multi-agency and multi-disciplinary response that requires rapid action to protect the public health even when many key facts remain unknown.

Brief Bio: Brad Deacon is the Director of Legal Affairs and the Emergency Management Coordinator for the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development.  He oversees the Department’s coordination of litigation and legal issues with the Office of the Attorney General, as well as public hearings, Freedom of Information Act compliance, and development of regulations for the Department.  He is also the Department’s emergency management coordinator, overseeing planning, preparedness, and response activities related to the food and agriculture sector, including the Food & Drug Administration’s Rapid Response Team grant.  Brad represents the Department on multiple homeland security and preparedness boards and served two years as the State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Co-Chair on the national Food & Agriculture Sector Government Coordinating Council.  His undergraduate and law degrees are from Michigan State University, and he is an adjunct professor at MSU College of Law teaching Agriculture and Hospitality Law.


Earlier Event: May 23
Plenary Session
Later Event: May 23
Plenary Session