We Are What We Eat -- and That Makes the United States Vulnerable

Article excerpt

The National Consortium for Genomic Resources Management and Services, or GenCon, is a group of top-flight biologists, scientists, military experts and emergency-preparedness officials who wound up a conference in Washington by pointing out the extreme vulnerability of the U.S. food supply to accidental contamination or willful attack by terrorists.

Thomas W. Frazier, GenCon president, tells news alert!, "The U.S. has around a five-day supply of foods for the table. If food shipments were interrupted, it would be only a matter of a few days until many kinds of foods become unavailable. Hoarding would occur with an effective attack on a critical infrastructure such as the national power grid or telephone grid. And introducing a deadly zoonotic pathogen into a large number of meat animals could destroy domestic and foreign markets for that species. Attacking critical infrastructures with biological agents is quite feasible today."

Among other potential threats to the U.S. food supply, according to GenCon, are the following:

* Many of the seeds used in farming come from countries that sponsor terrorism and that might aspire to attack the United States. …