Our Safe Food Supply - Case Study 1
A  WebQuest for Grades 8 - 12, WebQuest Agricultural Series by Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri State University

This WebQuest is intended to accompany the DVD, "Agro-Security - Safeguarding the American Food Supply."


Most Americans enjoy an abundant food supply. Most are not even aware of the many safeguards that our country has in order to protect our nation's food supply. This WebQuest and the DVD are intended to help you learn about the many ways that farms and food companies keep our food supply safe and secure.

After viewing the DVD, you will read the following Case Study. You and your team will then complete research on food safety issues and compile a poster presentation explaining the results of your study:

Step 1: Read the Case Study.

Case Study

XYZ Chem is a small agricultural chemical company in the U.S. The company produces environmentally sensitive herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers. The niche market for environmentally sensitive agricultural chemicals has been small but is growing. The market share of XYZ Chem has been 50%, which makes the company a market leader in the industry.

In recent years, XYZ Chem has seen rapid expansion in sales due to increasing societal concerns for the environment. The company recently established a new plant in the outskirts of your town. Tom Johnson was hired to manage this new plant. Tom became more concerned about agricultural terrorism after September 11, 2001. He participated in the regional seminar organized to make chemical plant managers aware of the state and federal regulations and safeguards regarding agricultural terrorism. In the seminar, Tom learned a great deal about the dangers of agroterrorism in the United States. He was highly impressed by the preparedness of the federal and state government in case of an agricultural terrorism related incident. Upon completion of the seminar, Tom was asked by his supervisor at the head office to conduct an agroterrorism related workshop to train the employees of XYZ Chem. Tom had only one week to prepare for the workshop. He was not sure whether the focus of the workshop should be on prevention of terrorism related incidents or handling of the situation if terrorism related incidents occurred in the plants of XYZ Chem.

Step 2: First you need to view the DVD provided.

Step 3: Complete the following team assignment. One student will play the role of Tom Johnson and three others will play the roles of assistant managers. Your teacher will assign you to a group.

Suppose that you are Tom Johnson. You have decided to develop a poster presentation for the workshop. You assigned your assistant managers of the herbicide, pesticide, and fertilizer departments to create an informational poster in each of these areas based on the information provided in the DVD presentation or from Internet sources. See the guidelines below for answering the questions that will help you prepare your poster. The poster should include the following elements:

a) Who should have access to the chemical storage facilities inside of the plant?

Your plant can be accessed by vendors, customers, your own employees, and the general public. What are some of the restrictions you would like to impose on all of them in terms of access to vulnerable areas of the plant. For example, would you create a prohibited zone for customers and general public? How about your own employees.

b) What should the managers do if chemicals are accidentally released?

You need to develop a set of steps to control the undesirable consequences of accidental release of chemicals. What are some of the immediate steps that would be implemented by your plant? Who are the local, state, and federal authorities that you would inform in case of such an emergency? Are there any guidelines provided by the authorities in case of such an emergency? Be sure to check your internet resources before completing this task.

c) Visit a local garden or farm supply store. Make a list of at least 10 agricultural chemicals that your
company might store in the warehouse. Create an inventory sheet for your company.

In general, chemical plants need to maintain the following types of information for each chemical: exact location (e.g., East Warehouse, room 1); Chemical name (e.g., Acetone); Container number and unit (e.g., 1 gallon); Container type (e.g., glass bottle, plastic bottle, metal can); and Chemical manufacturer (e.g., Roach Inc.). The other important information includes shipment received, total amount sold, and inventory on hand. After carefully studying the given internet resources, provide a list of other information that will be included in your inventory sheet.

d) What are some of the precautions you would want your dealers and suppliers to adhere to while they
are in XYZ Chem plant on company business?

Provide a list of guidelines for your dealers and suppliers while they are at the plant location. Include such things as parking area, identifying themselves by using ID tag, background checks, access of plant location during the weekend, etc.

e) What kind of security arrangements would you suggest for your plant?

Consider some of the important aspects of the security arrangements such as lighting, fencing, security guard or guards and alarm systems.

Step 4: Here are some Internet resources that you may use to research information to help you in completing your poster.

1. The Department of Homeland Security has a website that provides information on various aspects of homeland security, including information relating to disasters and emergencies.

2. The Office of Domestic Preparedness is a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness (SLGCP).

3. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has a bio and food security preparedness website.

4. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) Preparedness Division provides some good information.

5. The Food Safety and Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides food safety education.

6. University of California, Berkeley.

7. New York State Department of Transportation, Trucking Information.

Step 5: For any resources or graphics used on the poster be sure they are properly cited.

Step 6: Your group will make an oral presentation explaining your poster and will answer questions that your classmates or teacher might have.

Congratulations, your Poster Presentation provided you with a better understanding of the safe production of your food . The next time you go to your favorite store, you should have a greater appreciation and understanding of how many steps were involved in the safe production of your food.


Teamwork Rubric


7 pts.

5 pts.

2 pts.

0 pts.

Poster Poster demonstrates strong understanding of the problem. Poster demonstrates some understanding of the problem Incomplete. Poster demonstrates little understanding of the problem Complete lack of understanding.
Citations All sources and graphics properly cited. Most sources and graphics cited properly. Some sources cited but not all. Complete lack of citation.
Response to Questions Demonstrated complete understanding. Able to respond to most questions. Tried to answer questions. Were not able to respond to questions.
Teamwork Presentation reflects teamwork by all members.  Presentation reflects teamwork by most members. Presentation reflects some teamwork. Presentation reflects little or no teamwork.


Upper right photo courtesy of USDA NRCS.


This page was developed by Drs. Arbindra Rimal and Lyndon Irwin and is maintained by Missouri Farm Bureau.

Please address questions to Diane Olson at Missouri Farm Bureau.