Bio-terrorism experts warn that an attack on our food supply could cost the U.S. billions of dollars and potentially, human lives, so the FDA is putting a plan in place to fight back.
The plan has been in the works since the terrorist attacks on September 11th.
Now the FDA has a set of rules for food companies and suppliers to follow to figure out where they’re vulnerable, forcing them to close those gaps.
It’s about finding out how a terrorist group could target something as simple as fruit and using it to cause illness, major economic loss, even death.
It’s called the Food Safety and Modernization Act.
It will fully take effect in 2021 as companies reach compliance.
Once corporations identify their weaknesses, the FDA will inspect every so often to make sure they are taking steps to eliminate the risk of a terrorist attack on their products.
It will specifically impact places like dairy plants and large-scale bakeries.
In 2002, U.S. troops found documents in an Al Qaeda storehouse that laid out ways to attack the American agricultural industry.
It’s yet to materialize to that degree, but there have been other examples of food-related terrorism in the United States.
In early May, a man in Michigan was caught spraying poison on produce at multiple stores, including Whole Foods.
It was a mixture of hand sanitizer, mouse poison, and water.
In Oregon in 1984, a religious commune tried to keep people from voting in a local election by having one its members contaminate food with salmonella at 10 different fast food restaurants.
More than 700 people got sick, and it is still the largest U.S. bio terror attack to date.
Some warn a terrorist attack on our livestock population would be devastating.
Some experts believe it could cost the country billions of dollars, but it may not be as flashy as a mass killing or a suicide attack.
Terrorist attacks of any kind on U.S. soil are extremely rare, which is why this risk to our food supply is relative.
It will take some time though for food companies to get up to speed, in some cases five years.
Plus the rules do not apply to farms and in most cases, restaurants and stores.
The fear surrounding food-related illness can be seen with what happened to Chipotle earlier this year and the food-related illness that spread through the Buckhead area in Atlanta last summer.