Defending the Food Chain

April 1, 2010
David Walsh

Special Issues

Volume 0, Issue 0

The sobering reality is that homeland security is unique in the field of analytical chemistry. In an industry such as the baby formula industry, a change in process can end a contamination scare and for the most part, prevent a future recurrence.

The sobering reality is that homeland security is unique in the field of analytical chemistry. In an industry such as the baby formula industry, a change in process can end a contamination scare and for the most part, prevent a future recurrence. Likewise the peanut butter and dog food industries, which have gone through similar scares in the past few years. Even water purity issues can be resolved successfully by and large, with new regulations on acceptable limits of toxins preventing further illnesses, as can issues inherent in the pharmaceutical production process.

David Walsh

However, in the field of homeland security research, there often is no finish line. The opponent in this case is an intelligent one that can intentionally change shape and appearance at will. Even though techniques and technologies exist to identify trace explosives, anthrax virus, and more, as the Christmas Day bombing attempt illustrates, there will never be a technology to prevent someone from attempting to harm others. Because of this, the area of homeland security research remains one of the most important in the field of analytical chemistry and in society as a whole. The mutable nature of this field and the changing targets faced by researchers are reflected here, in this edition of "Defense and Homeland Security."

Here, you will find articles on topics you would expect, such as explosives detection and CWA detection. However, tellingly, there is more content devoted to identifying forgeries than ever before. With false documentation paving the way for most terror attempts, this is a hotter area than ever before, and requires an immediate response on the part of the research community.

As always, we hope you will find this supplement useful and valuable in your everyday work, and in addition, we hope it helps readers discover a newfound appreciation for those researchers on the front lines of defense and homeland security research and the critical work they do. They certainly deserve it.

David Walsh

Editor-in-Chief

David.Walsh@advanstar.com