فرید ملکی(Threats to food

The malicious contamination of food for terrorist purposes is a possibility that can not ignore. Food terrorism is defined as: an act or threat of deliberate contamination of food for human consumption with biological, chemical and physical agents or radionuclear materials for the purpose of causing injury or death to civilian populations and/or disrupting social, economic or political stability. Food can be contaminated deliberately by hazardous agents at any point in the food-chain.

The malicious contamination of food for terrorist purposes is a possibility that can not ignore. Food terrorism is defined as: an act or threat of deliberate contamination of food for human consumption with biological, chemical and physical agents or radionuclear materials for the purpose of causing injury or death to civilian populations and/or disrupting social, economic or political stability. Food can be contaminated deliberately by hazardous agents at any point in the food-chain.
 
Food as a vehicle for terrorist acts:
-In 1984, members of a religious cult contaminated salad bars in the United States of America with Salmonella typhimurium, causing 751 cases of salmonellosis.
-An outbreak of S. typhimurium infection in 1985, affecting 170000 people, caused by contamination of pasteurized milk from a dairy plant in the United States of America.
-An outbreak of hepatitis A, in 1991, associated with consumption of clams in Shanghai, China, affected nearly 300000 people and may be the largest food-borne disease incident in history.
-An outbreak of S. enteritidis infection, in 1994, from contaminated pasteurized liquid icecream that was transported as a pre-mix in tanker trucks caused illness in 224000 people in 41 states in the United States of America.
-In 1996, about 8000 children in Japan became ill with Escherichia coli O157:H7 infection from contaminated radish sprouts served in school lunches. Some of the children died.
 The chemicals that can contaminate food include pesticides, mycotoxins, heavy metals and other acutely toxic chemicals such as cyanide.
 -In perhaps one of the most deadly incidents, over 800 people died and about 20000 were injured, many permanently, by a chemical agent present in cooking oil sold in Spain in 1981.
- In 1985, 1373 people in the United States of America reported becoming ill after eating watermelon grown in soil treated with aldicarb.
  Contamination of food in one country can also have a significant effect on health in other parts of the world.
 -In 1989, staphylococcal food poisoning in the United States of America was associated with eating mushrooms that had been canned in China.
- Outbreaks of cyclosporiasis in the United States of America in 1996 and 1997 were linked to consumption of Guatemalan raspberries.
-In 2007, Shigellosis outbreaks in Australia and Denmark were linked to Thai baby corn.
- In 1985, 1373 people in the United States of America reported becoming ill after eating watermelon grown in soil treated with aldicarb.
  Contamination of food in one country can also have a significant effect on health in other parts of the world.
 -In 1989, staphylococcal food poisoning in the United States of America was associated with eating mushrooms that had been canned in China.
- Outbreaks of cyclosporiasis in the United States of America in 1996 and 1997 were linked to consumption of Guatemalan raspberries.
-In 2007, Shigellosis outbreaks in Australia and Denmark were linked to Thai baby corn.

Potential effects of food terrorism: 
Disease and death -

- Economic and trade impact
Impact on public health services  -
- Social and political implications   
 Disease and death:
 If the unintentional contamination of one food, such as clams, can infect 300000 individuals with a serious debilitating disease, then a concerted, deliberate attack could be devastating, especially if a more dangerous agent was used.
Economic and trade impact:
 In fact, economic disruption may be the primary motive for some deliberate acts, which target a product, a manufacturer, an industry or a country. Mass casualties are not required to achieve widespread economic loss and disruption of trade. Such real or perceived threats can have a major impact on tourism, which is economically important for many countries.
- The alleged contamination of Chilean grapes with cyanide in 1989 led to the recall of Chilean fruit from markets in Canada and the United States of America. The resulting damage amounted to several hundred million dollars and more than 100 growers and shippers went bankrupt.
-An outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infection in the United States of America in 1997 resulted in the recall of 11 million kilograms of ground beef.
- In 1998, a company in the United States of America recalled 14 million kilograms of sausages, frankfurters and luncheon meats potentially contaminated with Listeria. The parent company closed the plant and estimated their total cost to be US$ 50–70 million.
 -In 2007, about 10 million kilograms of frozen ground beef was recalled in the United States of America also because of E. coli O157:H7 contamination. It was noted that this was enough meat to make a hamburger for every man, woman and child in the country. 
-The crisis in Belgium in which dioxin-contaminated meat and dairy products were recalled around the world demonstrates not only the extensive costs to individual countries, but also the extent of disruption of global trade that can be caused by this type of incident.
-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 worldwide.
Although not of human health significance, the outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 2000 and 2007 are other examples of major economic and trade dislocations.
Impact on public health services:
 Food-borne disease, whether intentional or otherwise, can also paralyse public health services. Many countries do not have the capacity to respond to such massive emergencies. While many countries have some form of emergency response plan, they often do not include consideration of terrorist threats to food. This gap in preparedness could lead to misdiagnosis, incorrect laboratory investigations and failure to identify and detain affected food.
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