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Chapter 13 : Deliberately Contaminated Food
This chapter talks about Wasco County officials who dealt with an outbreak of Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium in The Dalles (the county seat). The outbreak of gastroenteritis, which occurred in two waves and affected 751 people, was traced to salad bars in 10 restaurants in and around the town. The first phase of the Salmonella outbreak began on September 9, 1984, and continued until the 18th. The second wave of the outbreak began on September 19 and ended on October 10. The incidents in The Dalles and in Dallas were two early warning indicators that bioterrorism (as opposed to state-sponsored biological or chemical warfare) could become a reality. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also developed guidance documents to provide information to domestic food facilities that would assist them to improve their food security systems, commissioned a threat assessment, redirected research funds to developing improved analytical methods, and cooperated with other agencies in emergency response exercises. The food we eat and the water we drink pass through too many different hands for us to ever hope to achieve 100% security. The door on possible large-scale bioterrorism attacks on our food supply can be shut, but we will always be susceptible to more petty instances of intentional food or water contamination, such as those committed by the Rajneesh cult and the Dallas hospital lab worker.