Numerous emergency incidents in U.S. food supply occur each year. Incidents include invasive pests and diseases impacting agriculture crops and foodborne pathogens contaminating meat and poultry. An effective response is not just dependent on the technology that is being used, but also policy and organizational factors. This research is a cross-case analysis of two federal regulatory and emergency response agencies under the U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). This research analyzes how each agency uses technology, policy and organizational factors to responds to their respective emergencies. This study also strives to identify factors that make a response effective and successful to protect U.S. agriculture and public health

To analyze each agency’s response, two food supply emergencies were used for this study: the 2006 Pale Cyst Nematode infestation in Idaho potato fields and the 2012-2013 Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg in poultry products. This study gathered secondary source material such as government documents, congressional hearings, news articles, documentaries, and peer-reviewed scientific articles. Data also includes information from discussions with experts. Comparing the two cases studies provides insight on how public policy can be changed in order to improve responses by both agencies. This is thesis will also contribute to the understanding of the role of technology within a government organization.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Food contamination--Government policy--United States; Food supply--Government policy--United States

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Science, Technology and Public Policy (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Public Policy (CLA)


Sandra Rothenberg

Advisor/Committee Member

Franz Foltz

Advisor/Committee Member

Elizabeth Ruder


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at RA601 .O94 2016


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