Department of Homeland Security Officials reported to CBS News details of a terrorist plan to poison food. The plan included means of carrying out attacks at various hotels and restaurants throughout the U.S. over one single weekend.
The Food and Drug Administration as well as the Department of Agriculture have combined forces with a group of corporate security officers from hotels and restaurants to address the "credible" threat. The plan was thwarted earlier this year and included poisoning salad bars and buffets with ricin and cyanide. Officials from the Dept. of Homeland Security have indicated that hotels and restaurants need to be on "heightened alert" status for any suspected food terrorist activities.
The Dept. of Homeland Security issued a statement via spokesman Sean Smith on Monday. Smith said: "We are not going to comment on reports of specific terrorist planning. However, the counterterrorism and homeland security communities have engaged in extensive efforts for many years to guard against all types of terrorist attacks, including unconventional attacks using chemical, biological, raiological, and nuclear materials. Indeed, Al-Qa'ida has publicly stated its intention to try to carry out unconventional attacks for well over a decade, and AQAP propaganda in the past year has made similar reference. Finally, we get reports about the different kinds of attacks terrorists would like to carry out that frequently are beyond their assessed capability."
If terrorists potentially manage to pull off the food attack, very trace amounts of cyanide and ricin have the potential to be fatal. Initial reactions to cyanide and ricin poisoning produce symptoms very similar to food poisoning. Initial reactions to cyanide and ricin poisoning include: weakness, headache, vertigo, confusion, perceived difficulty breathing, vomiting, and diarrhea.
For more: CBS