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Vulnerability in food and water distribution revealed

A publication called Government Technology went to former director of the Western Center for Food Safety at UC Davis Jerry Gillespie for a story about the ease with which community food and water supplies can be contaminated, accidentally or intentionally.

Gillespie noted that contamination at one processing plant can have widespread implications because food from a single source tends to be distributed widely.

"We've learned that, for example, with the spinach outbreak in Salinas County, it affected more than 18 states," he said. "So in a very quick order, we can have widespread contaminated product."

Agriculture in the United States is particularly vulnerable to terrorist activities because of openness at the farm level and in most processing plants, Gillespie said.

"They vary in their security certainly, but it would not be difficult to find access to a processing plant," Gillespie is quoted in the article. "There's a huge turnover in a labor force - it's quite easy for someone who wanted to do this to find a way into a processing plant or any segment of a food system. On the retail end, clearly our open markets, farmers' markets and the retail outlets are wide open."

Posted on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 at 2:37 PM


The scenario at the beginning of the article is appalling. So much of our food safety is based on trust. The ex-WIFSS director's name is Jerry Gillespie. I'm impressed you blogged while working in S. Cal.

Posted by Pam on November 22, 2007 at 12:31 PM

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