It Would Be So Easy…
When you think of the next big terrorist attack, you may imagine something similar to 9/11 or the Boston marathon bombing. You may worry about terrorists doing something even more extreme—a nuclear or chemical attack, perhaps.
You’re probably not thinking about a wide-scale attack on our food supply.
Even if you haven’t considered it, the terrorists have. Navy SEALs found documentation outlining an al Qaeda plan to hit our food supply.
The documents contained detailed information about both crop and livestock pathogens, where to get them, and how to deploy them for the most devastating effect.
An attack like that could drastically cut our food production to a small fraction of the usual output. The aftermath of this type of attack would put our population and the population of the world, at risk for hunger and in some cases starvation.
One More Reason to Make Food Security a High Priority
Think about farms … they don’t have a lot of security. An attack on food production facilities wouldn’t be difficult. Terrorists could be in and out before anyone realized they were there. That is, until crops started failing and animals started dying.
An agroterrorism attack would be so easy to pull off. In fact, in 2004, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson was quoted saying, “For the life of me, I cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply, because it is so easy to do.”
It’s Not Just Farms That Are at Risk
It’s true that crop destruction or the death of livestock would be an economic blow… one that could result in food shortages, riots, and social breakdown. But an attack on our food supply doesn’t have to originate at a farm or a ranch.
A far more frightening scenario starts when a terrorist group contaminates the food supply during or after production.
Dead livestock reduce the food supply, but they don’t make people sick.
Contaminated foods, on the other hand, could go out directly to unsuspecting citizens. We wouldn’t know what was happening until people started getting sick.
An attack like this could have a very high death toll. It would create widespread panic nationwide, triggering food shortages and economic hardship.
Such an attack is not difficult to imagine. The U.S. imports $70 billion worth of agricultural products every year. Only 1.1 percent of these imports are inspected. Terrorists could even attack us through these imports without ever entering the country.
So Many Variables…
The government is aware of these threats. Different agencies do regular training drills to practice containment scenarios for different possible attacks on the food supply. And currently they’re building a research facility to study pathogens affecting livestock and crops.
(Unfortunately, they’re building this facility in the heart of farm country, which means we’ll be just a single government accident away from creating an agricultural crisis on our own.)
But no matter how much the government drills or prepares, mounting an effective response to an attack against our food supply will be tough.
There are so many variables. The possible scenarios for an attack are endless. Then there’s the course the attack takes, how the disease spreads from farm to farm and from region to region.
In the case of direct food contamination, several different sources could be contaminated at once or a just single source. There are shipping patterns to consider and the buying habits of people.
It’s all very unpredictable.
Such an attack, if it happens, will have far-reaching economic effects, immediately impacting the price and availability of food.
I strongly advise that you don’t put your faith in the government to protect you from the consequences of such an attack.
P.S. – You can protect your family now, before this kind of attack happens.The government can’t, and won’t, ensure that you’ll have access to affordable food in the aftermath of a terrorist attack. Don’t wait to prepare. If you haven’t already started, begin putting together your emergency food reserve now.