Tuesday, May 31, 2011

14 dead in Germany as cucumber crisis grows

More than two weeks after the food poisoning outbreak was first reported in northern Germany, the number of confirmed and suspected cases has reached 1,200, according to media reports.

The magnitude of this outbreak seems excessive to be simply an accident of poor hygiene. Yet no one seems to be talking about the possibility of this being a terrorist attack of some kind. Food supplies afford a terrorist a double strike. First of course is the fear of the food supply being contaminated with something that could make your very sick or kill you. The second strike is the impact to the economy as farmers and grocers are left with unsold produce.

Holland, Spain and Germany are still very much agrarian economies and the impact will be severe. Our food systems are still one of the easiest to target. Produce especially can be contaminated along many different points along the transportation route to the store. Governments do not have the resources and infrastructure to protect all of the produce coming out of countries such as the United States. Buying local or growing your own greatly reduces the possibility of contamination but restaurant chains still will buy bulk produce from outside the local area. More outbreaks will occur with the increase volatility in the Middle East. This is not to say Middle Eastern or Islamic groups are responsible but unrest in that region provides the perfect cover for other groups such as domestic terrorists.

Yahoo! News

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