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Food and Bioterrorism

Bioterrorism may involve single cases or menace a whole nation. Some examples are:


Several cases of blackmail looking with food poisoning have lead to safety caps and closures to avoid violation of products.


A psychopath tainted orange juice with thallium. Several German students were life threatened poisoned one died.


Craving for recognition was the cause of tainting mustard with pesticides in a German case.


Agatha Christie describes poisoning with chlorine, Arsenic, nicotine, morphine, strychnine, chloridric acid, hydrocyanic acid, oxalic acid in 41 books. But also in the daily life intentional food poisoning happens. The insecticide nicotine was used by an supermarket employee to poison ground beef in Michigan 2003[1]. The owner of a fast-food outlet used rat-poison to taint a competitors breakfast foods in Nanjing, China, 2002 [2].
Inorganic arsenic can kill in a single dose of 100 milligrams by interfering with energy metabolism in the mitochondria. [3]

Warning from politicians

Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson resigning in December 2004 warned of a global outbreak of the flu and health-related terrorist attacks. "For the life of me, I cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply because it is so easy to do."[4]

The Bioterrorism Security Act

In America the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2000 Public Law 107-188 was the response to possible bioterrorism, a modern menace in food. The New United States Bioterrorism Law will affect all food exporters to the US.

Four new regulations provided by the Bioterrorism Security Act are:
1- All food facilities must be registered with the FDA.
2- The FDA agency must receive prior notice of imported food shipments before food arrives in the United States.
3- People who receive and distribute food must keep records of their food sources and recipients.
4- The FDA may detain any food for up to 30 days for which there is credible evidence or information that the food poses a threat of serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals.

The Bioterrorism Security Act: In response to the attack of September 11, 2001 the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 was signed into law on June 12, 2002.

The Act is divided into five Titles

Export registration

Section 305 of Title III requires that domestic and foreign food facilities that export to the U.S. register with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by December 12, 2003.

Facilities must register, however, or their food will be held at the U.S. port of entry until the facility is registered.

The recordkeeping proposal is designed to help FDA track foods implicated in future emergencies, such as terrorism-related contamination. Under the proposed rule, manufacturers, processors, packers, distributors, receivers, holders and importers of food would be required to keep records identifying the immediate source from which they received the food, as well as, the immediate subsequent recipient, to whom they sent it.

This requirement would apply to almost all foreign and domestic food sources and almost all recipients of food destined for consumption in the United States. It would assist FDA in addressing credible threats of serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals.

The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (the Bioterrorism Act or the Act) requires that FDA receive prior notice of food imported or offered for import into the U.S. beginning on December 12, 2003.

When goods arrive in the U.S., FDA must receive advance information on import shipments. This would allow FDA time to review, evaluate, and assess information before a food product arrives, and shift resources to target inspections, to help intercept contaminated products, and to help ensure movement of safe food to market.

H5N1 US/Dutch study: You can make war, but don't do it under the name of science [5]

Scientists mutating the H5N1 to bioweapon

Ron Fouchier at Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, and Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin, are now being seriously criticised because of their study. Kawaoka did the lab work of the controversial H5N1 study at the University of Wiskonsin, but has also an appointment at the University of Tokyo's Institute of Medical Science. Both scientist wanted to publish their findings on how to make the deadly H5N1 avian influenza virus more transmissible between mammals, a blueprint to set off a flu pandemic.

The researchers and the journal agreed to delete vital informations of the procedure if the US Government allows "responsible" scientists to see the whole informations, alleging that their data could be useful to monitor H5N1 outbreaks and developing drugs and vaccines.

The researchers reported the production of highly infectious H2N1viruses using only five mutations. The viruses were highly contagious in ferrets. These animals are used as a model to study human infections. It only took five mutations to achieve the desired effect. Increasing the contagiousness of an lethal virus and making their data public are two bad ideas, said Dr. Thomas Inglesby, a bioterrorism expert. [6]

The Biological Weapons Convention of 1975 [7]

The Biological Weapons Convention prohibits the development, production, transfer, acquisition, stockpiling, retention and use of biological and toxic weapons and is a major effort of the international community's efforts to address the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The convention opened for signature in 1972 and entered into force in 1975. The Convention addresses aflatoxin, anthrax, botulinum toxin, foot-and-mouth disease, glanders, plague, Q fever, rice blast, ricin, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, smallpox, and tularaemia. Members of the Biological Weapons Convention: The Convention was signed by 11 nations. Most prominent of the 19 Not-Members is Israel, and 165 nations are state parties, among them are the United States of America, known as a notorious disarmament denier.

Biowar laboratories in USA [8]

The Containment Lab Advisory Community Advisory Committee (CLCAC), is a group formed to act as a liaison between the residents of Frederick County, Maryland, and the containment laboratories in the area. The group says that past risk assessments have downplayed the possible risk of disgruntled employees and insider threat as well as the risk of an external terrorist threat. The committee also warned of the need for a more thorough discussion on lab-acquired infections and lab accidents.

Both the gulf oil spill and the current nuclear crisis in Japan speak to the reality of events sometimes escalating well beyond a hazard assessment's worst-case scenario.

High Containment Labs in Frederick County, Maryland [9]

High containment Labs in Frederick County are: Fort Detrick, USAMRIID, Homeland Security NBACC and NIAID Integrated Research Facility.
Category A Category B
Bacillus anthracis (Anthrax) Coxiella burnetti (Q fever)
Clostridium botulinum (Botulism) Coxiella burnetti (Q fever)
Yersinia pestis (Plague) Burkholderia pseudomallei
Variola major (Smallpox*) and Burkholderia mallei (Glanders)
other pox viruses  
Francisella tularensis (Tularemia) Brucella species (Brucellosis)
Lassa Fever Virus Ricin toxin
South American Hemorrhagic Staphylococcus enterotoxin B
Fever Viruses VEE, WEE, EEE (Equine
Hantaviruses Encephalitis Viruses)
Rift Valley Fever Category C
Ebola Virus Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever
Marburg Virus Yellow Fever
*Only at the CDC lab in Atlanta Influenza

Fort Detrick

[11] The U.S. military's flagship biological defense agency has broken ground on a $680 million headquarters building designed for expanded Army research on the world's deadliest pathogens.

The history of Fort Detrick [12]

In 1943, during World War II, Camp Detrick and the USBWL became the site of the U.S. Army Biological Warfare Laboratories (USBWL) with intensive biological warfare (BW) research using various pathogens.

Homeland threat by US bioweapons from Fort Detrick [13]

The only threat of biologic weapons which USA is exposed to, are its own weapons. This was painfully demonstrated in 2001 when seven letters, contaminated with anthrax spores, were mailed in the US. Five people died and 22 infections were registered. with many deaths of a anthrax attack by a US scientists working at the Army laboratory. He took the deadly bacterium from his working place and has send it to politicians.

The bio-weapons expert Bruce Edwards Ivins was suspected to be have sent the Bacillus anthracis spores variety Ames (RMR-1029) of his laboratory at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland. On April 11, 2007, Ivins was put under periodic surveillance. On July 27, 2008, Ivins killed himself with an overdose of acetaminophen. [14]

Bioweapons are failing. Scientists should stop developing them [15]

According to 60 percent of the bioattack cases involved terrorists and 40 percent were criminal in nature. Of the 262 cases, however, 66 percent of the attacks were hoaxes, 21 percent were threats that never came to fruition and only 13 percent were successfully carried out. In USA the 2001 anthrax attack was homemade by an weapon expert at Fort Detrick.

The Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo was responsible for 20 attacks between April 1990 and July 1995. Half of their attacks utilized biological weapons, anthrax and Botulinum toxin, but only eight people were killed. The cult was broken up in 1996. Their experts were near to design bugs similar those produced in laboratories in America, Russia and, possibly, China.

Scientists should stop to work on biologic weapons and US government should sign the Biological Weapons Convention and shut down their labs.

Dangerous agents

Biological agents

Anthrax, plague, smallpox, botulism, Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers, tularemie.

Chemical agents

Sulfur mustard

it is not present in food and is no food contaminant. Last use was in the Iran-Irak war in the 1980s. Accidental exposure to sulfur mustard may occur to fishermen who catch weapons dumped in the Baltic Sea, Adriatic Sea, Pacific Ocean and Japanese coastal waters.


Abrin is a natural poison found in the seeds of the rosary pea or jequirity pea (Abrus precatorius). Abrin is similar to ricin. Abrin is, however, much more poisonous than ricin. It is possible to prepare it as a yellowish-white powder, pellets or dissolved in water. It is very stable and can last for a long time in the environment despite extreme conditions such as high temperatures.

Ingestion of abrin disrupts the synthesis of proteins inside the cells which then die. Symptoms may occur in less than 6 hours, but usually in one to three days.

There is no antidote existent for abrin. No widely available reliable test exists to confirm an exposure to abrin.
Rosary pea is common to many tropical areas and is used sometimes as herbal remedy. The seeds are red with a black spot at one end. They are used as beaded jewelry.

Abrin could be used to poison food, water and pharmaceutical liquids used as injections.


Brevetoxin can be detected by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) method in biologic samples. There are many publications related to brevetoxin, such as the neurotoxic shellfish poisoning in North Caroliner.[16][17]


Colchicine is prepared from dried corns and seeds of autumn crocus or meadow saffron (Colchicum autumnalen). Ingestion of colchicine leads to profuse vomiting and diarrhoea, which can be bloody, followed by hypovolemic shock and multisystem organ failure within 24-72 hours, coma, convulsions, and sudden death.

Colchicine (N-(5,6,7,9-tetrahydro- 1,2,3,10-tetramethoxy-9-oxobenzo [alpha] heptaien-7-yl)acetamide) is an alkaloid and is a pale yellow powder soluble in water.


Digoxin immune FAB (ovine) may be used to bind molecules of unbound digoxin and especially longer-acting digitoxin.


Nicotine is a tertiary amine composed of a pyridine and a pyrrolidine ring. It is colourless to pale yellow, turning brown on exposure to air and light,water-soluble, oily volatile, strong smell. There are two stereoisomers. The S(-)nicotine (S-3-(1-methyl-2-pyrrolidinyl) is the most active of them.


Ricin is derived from castor beans. It inhibits the protein synthesis. Ingestion leads to profuse vomiting and diarrhoea (nonbloody or bloody, multisystem organ failure, abnormal liver function tests and possibly death within 36 to 72 hours of exposure. Symptoms are comparable to an intoxication with abrin and can be taken for caused by enteric pathogens, mushrooms, caustics, iron, arsenic and colchicine.


It produces numbness of the oral mucosa within 30 minutes after ingestion, parasthesia, floating sensation, muscle weakness, vertigo and cranial nerve dysfunction, respiratory failure and death resulting from paralysis.[18]


The source of strychnine is Strychnos nux vomica which grows in India, Sri Lanka,East Indies and Australia is a white, odourless, bitter crystalline powder and is water-soluble. It is a strong poison which can cause serious health effects, including death. It is used as a pesticide, particularly to kill rats, and can be found in drugs like LSD, heroin and cocaine. Contamination of water and food is possible because it is water-soluble. Symptoms of an intoxication appear within 15 to 60 minutes as agitation, apprehension or fear, restlessness, painful muscle spasm, arching of neck and back, rigid arms and legs, jawtightness, muscle pain and soreness, difficult breathing, dark urine, brain death.


Toxic amounts of tetrodotoxin causes neurological and gastrointestinal symptoms and death. There are no methods for detection of tetrodotoxin in environmental samples available commercially.

Trichothecene mycotoxins

It could be used to poison food, beverages and water.

Emergency Preparedness

Being prepared for emergencies avoids fatal errors when time is short. Fire, flood, chemical spill, nuclear accidents or terrorism attack. Some simple rules may help you to handle it:

Emergency evacuation

Survival at home

If you are trapped at home by an emergency remember that it probably will not take more than 3 days the situation to normalise. Help from other regions will come to the distressed area. In case of radioactive contamination, the region will be evacuated anyway. If you have food and water for this time make yourself comfortable at home. Canned food may be eaten without heating in case of electricity or gas failure.

Milk and milkshake

Have milk powder at home, so you can rehydrate it for your kids. Together with cocoa powder and sugar it turns out to become a wonderful milkshake.

To rehydrate it without the help of a electrical blender, join sugar, cocoa and milk powder. Mix it with a spoon. Add some droplets of water just enough to make a slurry. Mix well and add the rest of the water. Premixing it before the whole water is added will avoid the mix to get lumpy. You don't need to heat it in case there is no electricity. It tastes good without heating.

Tomato cream

One cup part of tomato concentrate, or tomato powder, two cups of water and half cup of milk powder. Make first a slurry of tomatopaste/powder and a slurry of the milk powder. Remember: Have food for 3 days at home. You cannot have more, unless it gets very bulky, turnover becomes difficult and you will for sure have hoarded the wrong things.

Cereals, rice, grains, legumes and pastas are good staple food with long shelf life, however they need to be cooked. This requires electricity, gas or wooden fire, and time you don't have in an emergency. In case of radioactive fall out all food should be left behind and the region must be evacuated as soon as possible.

The German preparedness recommendation

[19] The German government recommends a food supply for 15 days to counter emergency situation, providing 2000 Calories/day.

One person ration for 15 days

Cereals 4,5 Kg
Meat 2,0 Kg
Vegetables 2,0 Kg
Fruits 2,0 Kg
Fats 0,5 Kg
Milk 4,5 Kg
Water 21,0 Litres

The following distribution is being suggested:
Meat, fish and sausage 1 to 2 Kg
Canned ready-meals and soups 4 Kg
Canned fruits 3,5 Kg
Canned vegetables 5,5 Kg
Jam, honey 0,5 Kg
Evaporated milk 5 cans with 175 g
Milk powder 0,5 Kg
Cheese 0,25 Kg
Oil and fats 0,5 Kg
Bread, log shelf life, biscuits 5,5 Kg
Oat flakes, pasta 0,5 Kg
Sugar 0,5 Kg
Salt, spices 0,5 Kg
Koffee, cocoa, tea 0,5 Kg
Mineral Water 30 Litres
Fruit or vegetable juices 5 Litres
Vitamin supplements  
Baby food according
Dairy products should total 3,5 Kg

A three days survival

The above suggestions are not practical. Anyway, serious emergencies comprise an evacuation of the region. The following suggested amount of foods are fit for transportation and can be consumed on road.

Three days ration for 1 person

This ration is fit for transportation and will keep you fed for three days. Milk powder and tomato concentrate will be a welcome variation for kids.

The William Bell and Cham Dallas report on nuclear threat

[20] Mass casualties from weapons of mass destruction have low probability scenarios, however they are not completely unthinkable. Due to the combination of injury categories, death rates can be exacerbated far beyond that expected for any one of the injuries taken alone. Victims cannot move and could be consumed by fire or are simply left to die due to lack of resources. Others fall victim to poor sanitation due to failure of the main power, water and waste facilities.

Lack of immediate (12 hours) or even intermediate (48 hours) health care often results in the body going into shock or succumbing to infection, which would not have occurred had basic health care been available.

Preparedness to treat thermal injuries

Bell and colleagues expect that the total number of affected population by thermal injuries due to the fireball of nuclear weapon detonation is greater than that for blast injuries.

First aid

Kool with cold water. Cover of wounds with aluminium foil. Burn shock treatment by drinking electrolyte, fruit juices. Be sure you have aluminium foil packages in your first aid kit.

Most of the radioactive fallout is downwind from the explosion and up to 70 per cent is in the larger particle portion, or "early fallout" occurring within hours. One principle of note is that the intensity of the radioactivity varies inversely with distance from the site of explosion. With a steady wind, the pattern of accumulated dose of radioactivity assumes the shape of nested cigar-shaped contours. Both early and delayed fallout result in the deposition of radioactive material in the environment, turning it necessary to evacuate the region.

The authors claim that looking to trees, the wind direction can be estimated. Driving upright to this direction avoids fallout.

Safe places occur 2 to 7 kilometres upright to wind direction, according to Bell and its colleagues.

Federal assistance

The Department of Homeland Security has a number of ongoing initiatives such as the Radiological and Nuclear Countermeasures Program to enhance U.S. security against unconventional attacks.

Should a real event occur, federal assistance can be provided by specialized teams, such as the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education's (ORISE) Radiation Emergency Assistance Center (REAC/ TS). These teams can also provide pre-event nuclear and radiation training.

Food terrorism and sabotage

Food terrorism ranges from financial sabotage to stock manipulation to jealousy from rival companies. Even disgruntled workers can sometimes be moved into acts of food terrorism.


In 1997, more than 400 people, including 300 children under the age of 15, who suffered food poisoning were hospitalised in Russia's south territory of Krasnodar.

The victims suffered acute intestinal infection after consuming products of a milk factory. Although the suspect was never caught, it was believed the products were poisoned by a factory worker. The factory was temporarily closed and all its products were withdrawn from sale. As a result, the company suffered huge financial losses. An official note, however, blamed two female workers to be responsible for the poising as they were found positive for the bacteria in question.


The so-called Glico-Morinaga: A wealthy young executive of Glico, a leading candy company, was kidnapped by two masked men.

It involved a series of assaults involving kidnapping, extortion and food poisoning targeted at the dairy, meat and candy industries. Besides one billion yen, the kidnappers also demanded 100 kilograms of gold in nuggets.

A 17 month long series of extortion attempts aimed at Glico and other food companies followed threatening to place poisoned foods in stores.


A series of food poisoning using herbicides were practised in Germany and even a deadly poisoning of orange juice using thallium is reported.

Most food terrorists are never arrested and they appear to be highly sophisticated in what they do.
A high sophisticated system of safety closures was the response of the food industry.

WHO Food Safety Response to Terrorist Threats

The contamination of food for terrorist purposes is a real and current threat. Sabotage on one location could have global public health implications.

Outbreaks of both unintentional and deliberate foodborne diseases can be managed by the same mechanisms. Sensible precautions, coupled with strong surveillance and response capacity, constitute the most efficient and effective way of countering all such emergencies, including food terrorism[21].

Establishment and strengthening existing communicable disease control systems to ensure that surveillance, preparedness and response systems will both reduce foodborne illness and help to address the threat of food terrorism. The Food Safety Department of the WHO published a Guidance for Establishing and Strengthening Prevention and Response Systems to Terrorist Threats to Food.


Preventionis the first line of defence. The key to preventing food terrorism is establishment and enhancement of existing food safety management programmes and implementation of reasonable security measures. Prevention is best achieved through a cooperative effort between government and food industry.

Economic disruption

Deliberate contamination of food may have enormous economic implications. Economic disruption may be a primary motive for a deliberate act, targeting a product, a manufacturer, an industry or a country. Mass casualties are not required to achieve widespread economic loss and disruption of trade.

Extortion threats directed at specific organisations, particularly those in the commercial sector, are more common than is generally believed.

In an effort to damage Israel's economy in 1978, citrus fruit exported to several European countries was contaminated with mercury, which led to significant trade disruption.

An alleged contamination of Chilean grapes with cyanide in 1989 led to the recall of all Chilean fruit from Canada and the USA, leading to a boycott by American consumers. The damage amounted to several hundred million dollars, and more than 100 growers and shippers were going bankrupt.

In 1998, a company in the USA recalled 14 million kilograms of frankfurters and luncheon meat potentially contaminated with Listeria.

Disruption of trade

Consumer concern about consumption of meat potentially affected by the agent responsible for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and linked to the new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is still disrupting trade world-wide, with costs yet to be calculated and a significant long-term impact on meat production in many countries. Retailer chains in Germany wanting to avoid BSE scandals, changed all their meat products from beef to pork. Sausages and even gyros products are today made of pork as a result of the BSE crisis.

The outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom in 2000 is another example of a major economic and trade dislocation.

In the same way a deliberate sabotage of food could have serious economic and trade repercussions. Terrorism could therefore cause a significant damage to a country.


Terrorists may have a variety of motives, from revenge to political destabilization They may target the civilian population to create panic and threaten civil order such as happened in the USA mailing envelopes containing Bacillus anthracis showed that limited dissemination of biological agents by simple means, causing few cases of illness, can cause considerable disruption and public anxiety.

Chemical and biological agents and radionuclear materials that could be used in food terrorism

Access to chemical and biological agents and radionuclear materials that have been developed as weapons is limited, and their production and stockpiling are controlled under specific treaties and agreements.

However, more readily available toxic chemicals, including pesticides, heavy metals and industrial chemicals as well as naturally occurring microbiological pathogens, could be used as agents in terrorist threats to food.

Prevention, response and preparedness systems

The major strategies for countering the threat of food sabotage are prevention, response and preparedness. The food industry has the primary responsibility for assuring the safety of the food they produce. Already existent systems of good agricultural practice, good manufacturing practice and 'hazard analysis and critical control point' (HACCP)can be used. Government agencies, working with the private sector, have regulatory and advisory responsibility in promoting safe food measures by industry, including good agricultural and good manufacturing practices [22].

Surveillance, preparedness and response elements specific to food safety, should be included in existing national emergency response plans to achieve balance between threats to food safety and other threats.


Response includes all measures to identify, contain and minimise the impact of a food terrorist incident. Response to a terrorist attack must be speedy and effective. Plans to respond to a food sabotage should incorporate laboratory capacity for analysing uncommon agents in food and must be linked with food tracing and recall systems.

Globalization of food supply and food terrorism

An attack on one country's food supply cannot be seen in an isolated manner as global supply chains are involved. Close collaboration with United Nations specialised agencies such as WHO and FAO, and possibly other international organisations are necessary.


The key to prevent food terrorism is enhancing existing food safety programmes and implementing reasonable security measures on the basis of assessments of vulnerability such as safeguarding chemical, biological or radionuclear agents.

A new threat for the food chain is the introduction of a chemical, biological or radionuclear agent into food during production, processing, distribution or preparation of food. The responsibility to avoid this lies in the hands of the food industry. Many foods, such as fish, meat, poultry, fruit and vegetables, are consumed with minimal processing. Others, such as cereal products and cooking oils, undergo considerable processing before reaching the consumer.

Vulnerable to sabotage are the points where food changes hands. The potential for intentional contamination of products is likely to increase as the point of contamination comes near to production and distribution.

However, the potential for greater individual morbidity or mortality usually increases the closer the agent is introduced to the point of consumption,such as the shelves of supermarkets. A terrorist may, for instance, buy normal foods, protected by twist-off seals with the warranty "only safe with the click when opened", at home, the terrorist removes the caps, adds the poison and seals it again under watersteam coming out of a water kettle of his oven, wearing protective gloves to guard himself against the heat. After the head of the jar cools down, the vapour collapses and vacuum is installed. The safe "click" is back again. Now the terrorist brings the bottle back to the supermarket, deposits it on its old place and buys another small article and leaves the store

Other sophisticated safety locks of products can be bypassed in the same way. Ketchup bottles are protected by a lock in the screw thread. Opening breaks this lock. However as the lock is not visible to the consumer nobody cares about it.

Sources of raw materials and storage facilities and transport systems might have to be safeguarded. Access to all critical areas in production, processing, transport and storage could be controlled and documented to minimise opportunities for contamination.

Employers could consider screening their staff to ensure that their qualifications and background are compatible with their work and responsibilities.

Sanitation, maintenance and inspection workers, who have access to critical areas, could also be vetted from a security perspective. All staff could be encouraged to report suspicious behaviour and activities to the appropriate authorities.

Agricultural production

Recent incidents of contamination of bovine feed with the causative agent of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and contamination of poultry feed with dioxin illustrate the national and international effects that inadvertent contamination has had on human and animal health, consumer confidence and national economies.

In 1976 the industrial accident of Seveso with an airborn release of dioxin caused severe acne symptoms which were similar to some intentional poisoning cases:

Animal feed

Many animal feed ingredients are important on the international market. Safety assurance systems could be included in the control of animal feed and feed ingredients. Security measures, such as control of access and tamper-resistant or tamper-evident systems should be considered. Mechanisms for tracing and recall of animal feeds and animal feed ingredients must be installed. The meat scandal due to tainted wheat of the weed-killer nitrofen in Germany in 2002 forced the government to introduce traceability in feed business.

Agricultural production areas are vulnerable to deliberate contamination with dioxin or pesticides nitrofen alike. Attention should be paid to possible substitution of pesticides with more toxic agents and contamination of irrigation water. Subsequent processing may include critical control points for the detection and control of inadvertent or deliberate contamination.

As fruits and vegetables are consumed directly, with minimal processing, there are few critical control points for detection or removal of contamination. The many incidents of inadvertent contamination of meat, fish, poultry, and milk products with pathogenic microorganisms during production are clear indications of the vulnerability of these commodities.

The point of introduction of raw materials into the processing stream is a critical control point in most processing operations. Good agricultural practice (including use of HACCP-like systems) is being implemented in many primary production areas.

Open-air drying

Open-air drying offers opportunities for deliberate contamination. Controlling access to and monitoring of agricultural production areas could be considered, particularly in response to known or likely threats.


The possibility of deliberate contamination must be included in food safety programmes for food processing and manufacture. . The water used in food processing is an important consideration, particularly for minimally processed foods such as fruits and vegetables, where washing is often the only processing step. Some tools may be helpfull to achieve processing safety, such as: The model food security plans are being issued in the form of guidance documents and are voluntary. The USDA is strongly encouraging all establishments operating under federal and state inspection programmes to develop plans to fit their particular needs. The USDA believes that security of food processing facilities can be enhanced through the implementation of risk-management techniquesadapted to the needs of each business. Food security plans help to identify preventive steps to avoid the risk of food tampering or other criminal act[23].

Protection and inspection of facilities, including water sources for food industry use, are particularly important as they may be located in some distance from the food processing plant. Air systems in processing plants could also be sources of inadvertent or deliberate contamination.

Storage and transport

Raw agricultural storage commodities range from the open air to large elevators. Transport means range from human portage to large ocean-going vessels. Fencing and locks, can be used to secure and prevent unauthorised access to storage facilities and transport containers. On-site security personnel, intrusion detectors and silent alarms linked to the authorities or remote-controlled television, tamper-resistant and tamper-evident packagings should be considered. All returned products should be carefully examined before reshipment.

Retail distribution

While tamper-resistant and tamper-evident containers have proved to be extremely useful in reducing deliberate contamination, all such containers are vulnerable to individuals who know how to penetrate the protective measures. Controlled access and greater vigilance, including cameras and other types of surveillance, may be needed to increase security.

Bulk foods are particularly vulnerable to deliberate contamination. More secure containers for bulk foods and use of pre-packaged materials could be considered to prevent deliberate contamination. Wholesale and retail managers could use reliable suppliers. Buyers should be suspicious of food being sold under unusual circumstances, e.g. at much lower prices than normal or outside normal distribution channels.

Food Service

Food service operations have already been the target of criminal attacks. Increased monitoring of salad bars and other communal food displays may be necessary to deter deliberate contamination.

Washing and cooking food adequately before consumption can help to reduce inadvertent contamination. Careful attention could be given to tamper-resistant or tamper-evident seals.

Reducing access to chemical and biological agents and radionuclear materials: Limiting access to chemical and biological agents and radionuclear materials that could be used to contaminate the food supply deliberately can contribute to counterterrorism. While some agents developed as weapons by military forces could be used to contaminate food, relatively common chemicals and pathogens may pose more significant threats to food. Highly toxic pesticides and industrial chemicals, including chemical waste, are available in most areas of the world.

Pathogenic microbiological agents are present in clinical and other laboratories, including laboratories involved in food control. University-level knowledge of chemistry or microbiology is sometimes sufficient to make effective amounts of many agents. Radionuclear materials are widely available for medical research.

Guidance already exists on the safety and security of laboratory materials. Governments and commercial organisations should increase the security of stores of toxic drugs, pesticides, radionuclear materials and other chemicals and immediately report any theft or other unauthorised diversion to the proper authorities.

Greater effort should be made to control the availability of microbiological pathogens. It is critical that clinical, research and food control laboratories be aware of this potential and take appropriate security measures to minimise the risk that such materials are diverted.

Surveillance, Preparedness and Response


A number of Member States already maintain surveillance systems to detect and investigate foodborne disease. Countries need to review their surveillance systems with respect to their capacity to recognise emergencies rapidly. Countries with highly accurate but slow systems should strengthen them to allow rapid detection of food terrorist incidents. In some cases, deliberate contamination of food may reveal itself through disease clusters in animals.

Routine monitoring

routine monitoring for chemical, biological and radionuclear contaminants in food. Monitoring provides information on the baseline levels of contaminants in food and can be a good source of information about unusual food contamination during the continuum of farm-to-table.


Preparedness should include: Preparedness for response to food terrorist incidents need to be integrated within existing general plans for emergency response, making maximum use of existing emergency response resources. Suitable laboratory equipment and certification are also important requirements for preparedness. In this regard, it may also be necessary to undertake specialised analytical investigations. Protocols to ensure timely molecular typing and sub-typing of microbiological isolates, prompt transport of isolates to reference laboratories and development of new molecular techniques must all be addressed as part of preparedness planning.

Rapid testing for unusual agents, such as dioxin and anthrax, presupposes the existence of specialised laboratories.


Response to food terrorism depends on awareness of the possibility of a terrorist act and recognition of the incident as involving food. In many Member States, the overall responsibility for response preparedness rests with an emergency management agency, and the public health aspects are coordinated by the health department.

World Health Organisation and food terrorism

WHO is the only international health organisation with the primary mandate to protect public health and to provide technical assistance and advice to Member States on all health matters as an international response to food safety emergencies, including food terrorism.

International Health Regulations (IHR)

The IHR, agreed by the international community and adopted by WHO in 1969, represent the regulatory framework for global public health security.

The capacities of the IHR include rapid detection and reporting of public health emergencies, verification and preliminary control measures and response capacity, including notification to WHO of events or risks of international significance.

Radionuclear incidents

The WHO Programme on Radiation and Environmental Health coordinates responses to major nuclear and radiation emergencies, which would include deliberate contamination of food with radionuclear agents, with several international agencies.

Chemical incidents and emergencies

The WHO Programme on Chemical Safety serves as the Secretariat for the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) and provides technical advice and assessments of the risks associated with exposure to certain chemicals, promoting the prevention and treatment of poisoning and maintains the INTOX database which is useful in cases of toxic exposure.

Biosecurity recordkeeping rules

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The Biosecurity Act places demands companies to keep records to allow inspectors to trace the origins of a questionable product along the food chain. Specific records on their suppliers and customers must be kept.

In case FDA has determined that a particular food product poses a serious health risk to the public inspection of these records may become necessary.

Prior to such an inspection of the records kept by manufacturers, processors, packers, distributors, receivers, holders and importers of foods, FDA agents must send a written information to the company to help them prepare in advance searches of their data by the inspectors. The FDA Form 482c, "Notice of Inspection - Request for Records" should be used for that.

The FDA's authority to search does not apply to records excluded under section 414(d) of the act. The exclusion applies to such records as recipes for food, financial data, pricing data, personnel data, research data or sales data other than shipment records. Their right to demand documents also excludes records from farms and restaurants.

The FDA released a separate guidance document relating to the implementation of its recordkeeping rule for the food industry.

Container Security Initiative

The Container Security Initiative (CSI) is a section of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) which develops antiterrorism programs after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001,

CSI proposes a security regime to ensure all containers that pose a potential risk for terrorism are identified and inspected at foreign ports before they are placed on vessels destined for the United Sates. CBP has stationed teams of U.S. officers to target and prescreen containers and to develop additional investigative leads related to the terrorist threat to cargo destined to the United States.
The four core elements of CSI are: The World Customs Organization (WCO), the European Union (EU), and the G8 support CSI expansion and have adopted resolutions implementing CSI security measures introduced at ports throughout the world.

Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)

The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) is a partnership between the government and private sector. Forged after the terrorist events of September 11, its goal is to improve supply chain and border security.

It is intended to encourage the implementation of security practices by companies throughout their global supply chain. A creation of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the C-TPAT program certifies known shippers through self-appraisals of security procedures, coupled with customs audits and verifications.

Being approved C-TPAT shippers, the company will have their goods flow more quickly through customs because of fewer inspections supply chain security initiatives.

Participate in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program is an important step toward high secure logistic chain.

Participate in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program is an important step toward high secure logistic chain.

Securing the Global Supply Chain


Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) Strategic Plan

C-TPAT mission means improving security, at not only physical borders and ports of entry, but globally in collaboration with the international trade community.

The multi-layered approach includes using information analysis and targeting, employing advanced inspection technologies, engaging the private sector to increase supply chain security and expanding our borders by pre-screening shipments that pose a potential terrorist risk prior to arrival in the United States.

CBP uses C-TPAT as a resource to designate certain companies as low risk and therefore less likely to be examined. This designation is based on the company's past Customs compliance history, security profile and the validation of a sample international supply chain. C-TPAT conducted domestic and foreign site visits to physically review companies' security best practices and weaknesses along their international supply chains.

C-TPAT members developed and tested the Smart Container. C-TPAT has assisted CSI by identifying and certifying companies that have improved security along their supply chain and pose a lower risk and may rewarded with reduced number of examinations.

Future of the Strategic Plan

The goal of C-TPAT is that one day the strategy plan will become the domestic and international supply chain security/cargo security platform all others are judged by. At the core of this vision resides the concept of a green lane to speed secure low-risk shipments across United States borders and through the ports of entry.

The green lane represents enhanced security along the supply chain, from a foreign manufacturer to the United States port of entry, along with a fully automated system requiring only electronic documents from the trade community.

C-TPAT has succeded in a way that participant companies have made participation and/or compliance with C-TPAT security standards by their business partners a requirement for doing business.


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See also: Related OurFood News
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