MINNEAPOLIS - Nearly half of the Americans who responded to a recent survey about funding anti-terrorism initiatives said they expect an attack on the food supply chain within the next four years, the Food Industry Center at the University of Minnesota said last week.
The respondents to the university's survey also indicated they favor devoting more federal funds to protecting the food supply.
Of the 4,200 respondents, 44% said they expected terrorists to deliberately contaminate the food distribution system. However, that was considered the least likely of all targets, with 84% foreseeing a subway or railroad bombing.
The survey was funded by the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, a Department of Homeland Security Academic Center of Excellence.
While the food supply chain was thought to be the least likely potential target, U.S. residents believe that a greater percentage of anti-terrorist spending should go to protect the food supply than to protect against any of the other types of terrorism included in the survey. Protecting against the release of a chemical or biological agent was also viewed as a high-priority area.
"These results show the American public expects their food supply to be well protected," said Jean Kinsey, co-director of the University of Minnesota's Food Industry Center. "The food industry has worked hard to keep accidental contaminants from entering the food supply chain. Consumers obviously expect the same kind of effort to be made to protect against deliberate contamination."