Agroterrorism, the not-the-mouth food hole | Writing | Food Newsie

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Agroterrorism, the not-the-mouth food hole

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Agroterrorism, the not-the-mouth food hole

Preaching to Choir Dept. – The Presidential transition exercise, where responses to imagined threats are rehearsed, saw no leader in the Agriculture seat. Agroterrorism lacks the shock factor of immediate attacks but a lack of preparedness leaves open the doors to a more potent attack. According to a 2007 “Report For Congress” by Congressional Research Service, good news includes a budget trebled in five years following brainstorm sessions after September 11th, 2001 The nearly 60-page report states, “Increasing the level of agroterrorism preparedness remains a concern, as do interagency coordination and adequate border inspections.”

While the report was prepared for the 110th Congress, the situation presumably remains a steady issue for the 115th. Last updated March March 12, 2007, the Summary concludes with, “This report will be updated as events warrant.” Here’s that report

Hello 2017.

Agroterrorism isn’t a vector that’s been utilized by anything more serious than Chipotle. But look at that tongue in cheek reference in a serious context a moment and the chuckle turns to an uncomfortable throat clearing. Over the course of five months, Americans watched as the FDA and CDC chased an outbreak of E. Coli O26 illnesses and hospitalizations across 11 states. February 1, 2016 the CDC announced an apparent end. That’s a long, damn time! Thankfully (?) the number of hospitalizations was in the low double-digits but the spread was attention-worthy.

The Food Poison Journal is a thing. The top-listed authors have lawyer bios. Handy. Get your skin crawling with some reading on E. Coli and associated nastiness.

DJT in Agriculture news is exhausting but Trump’s failure thus far to announce a candidate to lead the USDA is past faux pas (noun: An embarrassing or tactless act or remark in a social situation) and become a liability. Quoting Tri-State Livestock News (yeah, I read that)…

The White House on Friday afternoon convened a transition exercise with members of President-elect Donald Trump’s team and Cabinet designees together with current senior White House, Cabinet, and agency leaders on crisis management, but no one from the Obama administration’s Agriculture Department or the Trump agricultural transition team participated. (emphasis added) Source.

There’s nothing consumers can do realistically to truly protect themselves from an attack on food. Trump-chiding and baiting is an entertaining new sport but this is a serious hole at a time with more serious bad guys and, sadly, good guys freshly inspired somehow by bad guys. Not all threats are foreign.

Trump, really. It’s dangerous now. Vilsack – man, let’s sit down; I don’t fault you for the hasty goodbye but no one from Ag participated? Drop a line, come to Maryland. I know some good places to eat – on me. To the choir, bottle that water, can that meat; self-reliance isn’t a dirty word, just a hard job.

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