Evaluation of the Food and Agriculture Sector Criticality Assessment Tool (FASCAT) and the Collected Data

Andrew G. Huff, James S. Hodges, Shaun P. Kennedy, Amy Kircher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


To protect and secure food resources for the United States, it is crucial to have a method to compare food systems' criticality. In 2007, the U.S. government funded development of the Food and Agriculture Sector Criticality Assessment Tool (FASCAT) to determine which food and agriculture systems were most critical to the nation. FASCAT was developed in a collaborative process involving government officials and food industry subject matter experts (SMEs). After development, data were collected using FASCAT to quantify threats, vulnerabilities, consequences, and the impacts on the United States from failure of evaluated food and agriculture systems. To examine FASCAT's utility, linear regression models were used to determine: (1) which groups of questions posed in FASCAT were better predictors of cumulative criticality scores; (2) whether the items included in FASCAT's criticality method or the smaller subset of FASCAT items included in DHS's risk analysis method predicted similar criticality scores. Akaike's information criterion was used to determine which regression models best described criticality, and a mixed linear model was used to shrink estimates of criticality for individual food and agriculture systems. The results indicated that: (1) some of the questions used in FASCAT strongly predicted food or agriculture system criticality; (2) the FASCAT criticality formula was a stronger predictor of criticality compared to the DHS risk formula; (3) the cumulative criticality formula predicted criticality more strongly than weighted criticality formula; and (4) the mixed linear regression model did not change the rank-order of food and agriculture system criticality to a large degree.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1448-1467
Number of pages20
JournalRisk Analysis
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Criticality assessment
  • Food defense
  • Food supply chains
  • Food systems


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