Tainted Food and Terrorism

By Randy Taylor Independent Analyst
rtaylor@homelandsecurityus.com

16 September 2006: As of late yesterday, there were 20 states were reporting cases of E. coli (Escherichia coli) bacteria poisoning contained within the triple-washed, cello-packed bags of spinach. These states include California, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To date, the outbreak has killed one person (a 77 year-old woman) and sickened nearly 100 more.

Interestingly enough, some time ago I was perusing a well known al Qaeda forum and that exact subject of contaminating foods, specifically mentioning spinach, other foods and water supplies were the subjects of the posted information. I felt it my responsibility to share this with you.

A small portion of text pertaining to contaminating food from the forum was as follows:

Poisons : People: 1-cm meat corrupt or poisons (Botulinum Toxins)

This is poison from the poison of high-powered, which produces the bacteria called Clostridium Butulainm (Clostridium Botulinum) where this bacteria will grow is in food such as canned fruits and vegetables, kidney beans, spinach, tomatoes, olives, cheese and smoked fish, meat and protein poisons can only be broken by raising the temperature to 100C degrees for a period of ten minutes as this is enough to destroy the poison.

Note* 100 degrees (Celsius) Centrigade is 212 degrees Fahrenheit. The published instructions continued in detail on the methods to use animal feces, meat and soil to prepare the poisons, tests conducted on animals to gauge the effects of the poisons on living creatures and instructions on how to store the poisons for later deployment against food products. The preparation process is actually quite simple.

Granted, it doesn’t specifically name E. coli bacteria but instead focuses on a form of weaponized botulism. What is also noteworthy, however, is the indication that the terrorist would choose [i]spinach[/i] as a food to contaminate in light of the last few days of tainted spinach. If able to gain access to food, the types of poisons deployed could be of a large variety.

Considering the number of produce companies, especially in California receive shipments of fresh produce from smaller farms where illegal immigrants are used for labor, the chances of an undocumented person having access to your food is of concern.

The information posted on the forum I referenced appeared to have been copied directly from the Mujahideen Poisons Handbook, a poisons weapons manual prepared by al Qaeda a few years ago. The manual goes into great detail about poisoning people, food and water among some other things I won’t go into detail about here in this article.

Currently in this case, there is no direct proof or even indication that the spinach was purposely tampered with but the general public should be aware that our food and water are targets of our enemy and tampering cannot be overlooked or discounted.

As noted by an official with the State of California Department of Health Services, the contamination can occur anywhere from “field to plate.”

Food for thought.