Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Food Terror

There are people in the world looking to harm us. That much I know and believe. Invading Iraq was a dumb idea with nothing to do with protecting our nation's people. That's all I care to say about that.

For those seeking to do us harm, you have to take a look at our food production, processing and distribution systems. Mass production, mass processing and mass distribution channels are bound to have some weak spots.

I'm not sure how to go about protecting it or even sure how to assess the risk potential. You have to think like a terrorist and look for places to inflict the most damage. A recent government report about food chain vulnerabilities was suppressed apparently because it was "an instruction manual for terrorists."

I don't know. You also have to add mass media to the equation. Terror works on the collective head of a population. An attack needn't reach the proportions of the World Trade Center attack to inflict panic and create instability. Just the thought that something bad was in the food or affecting the food might be enough.

The agricultural business community needs to keep its head up. There are efforts underway to better assess and track animal movement, for example. Response procedures are crucial and need careful definition and understood command chains.

We all live under a thin veneer of protective technology. It probably wouldn't take a lot to punch a hole in that veneer.

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