There is both good news and bad news on the terrorism front. ISIS is now being defeated on the battlefield, but the group remains dangerous. Despite that, it is important to realize that our food supply remains vulnerable.
Posted on FoodSafety Magazine | By Robert A. Norton
In early September of this year, for example, ISIS called for its supporters to target “unbelievers” (i.e., the West) by injecting poisons (such as cyanide) into fruits and vegetables or containers of ice cream found in supermarkets and grocery stores. The chance of ISIS sympathizers in the U.S. being able to obtain cyanide is remote, but their ability to obtain other toxic chemicals is not. ISIS has also called for additional attacks on markets, restaurants, clubs and bars. The numbers of victims in these types of venues are actually quite stunning.
Many of the attacks, including those that occurred in London and Paris, started or ended in and around restaurants. Food and drink-related venues offer advantages in the adversary’s favor. Because they are places where people congregate socially, situational awareness is often lacking or impaired, making patrons more vulnerable.
So where are we in the fight to maintain the safety and security of the food supply? Federal guidelines, at best, serve only as a baseline, whereas insurance incentives like rate reductions could immediately cause corporate defenses to be bolstered. Food leaders increasingly understand that terrorism, like an unintentional contamination event, can rapidly become a serious brand issue.