Death by Salad Bar
Emerging Terror Threat: Foot and Mouth Agroterrorism
Surveillance Indicates Foreign Interest in such Tools
We know that terrorist groups are interested in using unconventional agents against the food and agricultural sector, an intelligence analyst with the FBI told an audience April 26 at the FBI International Symposium on Agriculture. No one has unleashed a biological agent, such as foot and mouth disease, against the livestock sector, but there have been instances of attacks on the food system. For instance, in 1984, the Rajneeshee religious cult in Oregon spiked the salad bars at several restaurants with Salmonella typhimurium. It sickened 751 people. Targeting the food supply creates fear; it diminishes confidence in the sector that has been attacked, the FBI analyst said. And, the economic impact of a biological attack on the livestock sector would be huge. If there was one disease that scares livestock producers and security experts alike, it is foot and mouth disease. An animal scientist at the University of California-Chico and other experts advise dairy producers to learn the signs of foot and mouth disease and report anything suspicious to a veterinarian as quickly as possible. Veterinarians then need to get laboratory conformation, since the symptoms of food and mouth disease can appear similar to other diseases, such as vesicular stomachitis virus, and swine vesicular disease. The blisters that accompany these diseases look similar to one another.