Information -Bioterrorism: Using Foods and Beverages As Deadly Weapons

In Homeland Security

“The food industry should start thinking seriously about various terrorism-related scenarios that could potentially involve radioactive materials and make preparations for dealing with these situations should they become reality,” Robert A. Norton, Ph.D., urges in Food Safety Magazine.

“The most immediate element of concern for a food facility — maybe a large production plant or sprawling warehouse — would actually be from the direct blast effects emanating from an improvised explosive device (IED) rather than from any radioactive material that might be present,” Norton added.

He was particularly concerned about possible radioactive elements being inserted into foods and beverages to cause illnesses or death. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has provided the food industry very rigid safeguards against poisonous chemicals entering our food. The USDA has a detailed list of Food Safety Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on food handling, cleaning, cooking and personal hygiene.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, there are “an estimated 2.1 million farms, 935,000 restaurants, and more than 200,000 registered food manufacturing, processing, and storage facilities. This sector accounts for roughly one-fifth of the nation’s economic activity.”


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