Terrorism has come to mean many things in today’s culture. We can imagine jets, bombs, anthrax and computer hacks but have we ever thought of our food? Those tasty little morsels sitting in front of us could be as dangerous as the next bullet zipping by. Even more dangerous than the cholesterol, fats and carbs held within. There are many ways our food could be treated or contaminated that would seriously affect our health. Not to alarm you but here are a few things to consider.
This phrase simply means attacking our food supply where it originates or is grown. The popular worry now is that drones can be used to contaminate our water or food supply. Everywhere, our leaders have already considered how much does it cost to cover our reservoirs? But, who is covering our crops? If you are out in the country and you see a strange device flying over someone’s crops, it might not be the latest version of a crop duster. Think no one is taking this seriously. They already have. In 2002, the Agricultural Bioterroism Protection Act was passed.
Another link in the chain is contaminating the process of processing. We’ve all seen recalls made on a particular food due to normal processing errors. What if it was done on purpose and with something far worse than food poisoning? The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness Act of 2002 was put in place to cover these possibilities and many, many more. However, not sure how laws will protect us completely when the terrorists seem to laugh at our laws.
Most of us have seen the border patrol asking if we are bringing in any fruits or vegetables (pot, cocaine, heroin, etc.) and we dutifully nod ‘no’ because we are all law abiding citizens. Correct? For decades, most of this type of contamination was not intentional if a bit thoughtless. What if someone was intentionally smuggling a disease with their cough medicine or their cute little poodle was carrying the next form of bubonic plague just waiting to bite and infect you? Before you know it, we will have swarms of zombie poodles roaming the streets.
Another link on the food chain is service. How easy would it be to contaminate the warming trays or kids meals? (I would add packets of catsup but that would categorize in processing.) There are so many biological agents out there that a list would be in the hundreds if not thousands. From diseases to poisons. I haven’t even touched on food that has been irradiated with a lethal dose of U-235. Fresh off the kill—er—grill.
What is the possibility of someone sneaking across the border with a highly contagious disease on purpose? What are the odds of someone contaminating a salad bar? I don’t know how to break this to you gently but—it has already happened!!!! In 1984, the newly settled-in Rahjneesh snuck into 10 different restaurants in Antelope, Oregon to spread Salmonella in the salad bars. It was an effort to keep the old, original voters home during the election so they could vote their own followers into office. They were successful and the first, and still largest, bioterrorism attack on US soil came to pass. To date, there has only been one other bioterrorism attack and that was the 2001 Anthrax mail-in offers shortly after 911. Will we see another Rahjneesh? Another one man effort with a bunch of stamps? It doesn’t matter who the next source will be. The simple fact is that it could happen and we may not know who it will be until afterwards.
Enjoy your meal and come back real soon!