US: Our food supply is vulnerable to attack
Posted: April 26th, 2011 - 2:13pm
Source: Kansas City Star
The heartland label “breadbasket of the world” brings to mind homey comforts, until you begin viewing agriculture as the FBI does.
If terrorism means planes into buildings and bombs planted in subways, consider the potential vulnerabilities of our food and water supplies. Both could be targets for contamination, triggering mass panic, catastrophic death tolls and economic turmoil.
This week the International Symposium on Agroterrorism will have experts assessing risk from farm to fork.
More than 750 people, representing every state and 25 countries, will attend the three-day symposium beginning Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center hotel.
Kansas City’s FBI office began organizing the gatherings after President George W. Bush issued a directive on agriculture as a key national infrastructure.
But it soon became apparent that public and private sectors weren’t coordinated in regards to food safety, said Special Agent Craig Watz.
Networking — pulling best practices and applying them elsewhere — has been an outcome of the previous three symposiums. As Watz rightly contends, “The time to exchange business cards is not in the throes of the crisis.”
Consider all of the people involved in moving meat from the feedlot to the slaughterhouse to the manufacturing plant as food is prepped and packaged, then is distributed by truck or rail and finally enters a market or restaurant.
Each step offers the potential for contamination, either by mistake or intent. It’s similar for fruits and vegetables.