NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

How Secure are Our Food Supplies?

November 1, 2001

Scientists and politicians are concerned about the vulnerability of our food supplies to terrorist attacks. However, the food industry has been investing substantial sums in recent years to improve safety.

Here are a few insights into the issue:

  • Areas of concern, say scientists, include livestock and crops that could be decimated by a foot-and-mouth disease epidemic or a plant disease such as wheat or rice rust -- which could spread across fields like wildfire.
  • But improvements have been made in processing -- including cooking and, more recently, irradiation of meat, poultry and some produce -- along with high-tech packaging, which keep microbes to a minimum.
  • Other improvements include traceability -- with canners, for example, being able to determine what field a can of peas came from and where it went.

Source: Anita Manning, "Food Supply May Be Terror Target," USA Today, November 1, 2001.


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