Precautions against biological and chemical terrorism directed at food and water supplies

Ali S. Khan, David L. Swerdlow, Dennis D. Juranek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations


Deliberate food and water contamination remains the easiest way to distribute biological or chemical agents for the purpose of terrorism, despite the national focus on dissemination of these agents as small-particle aerosols or volatile liquids. Moreover, biological terrorism as a result of sabotage of our food supply has already occurred in the United States. A review of naturally occurring food- and waterborne outbreaks exposes this vulnerability and reaffirms that, depending on the site of contamination, a significant number of people could be infected or injured over a wide geographic are. Major knowledge gaps exist with regard to the feasibility of current disinfection and inspection methods to protect our food and water against contamination by a number of biological and chemical agents. However, a global increase in food and water safety initiatives combined with enhanced disease surveillance and response activities are our best hope to prevent and respond quickly to food- and waterborne bioterrorism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-14
Number of pages12
JournalPublic Health Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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