FAS Biosecurity: http://www.fas.org/biosecurity/education/dualuse-agriculture/1.-agroterrorism-and-foodsafety/deliberate-contamination-foods.html
Previous incidents of deliberate food contamination by terrorists have been reported.
- In February 1978, health officials in 18 countries received notice that “oppressed Palestinian workers” had injected liquid mercury into Jaffa oranges, one of Israel’s main export crops. In a letter to the West German government, a group calling itself the Arab Revolutionary Army-Palestine Command claimed it had adulterated the fruit and added, “Our aim is not indiscriminately to kill your population but to sabotage the Israeli economy.” Mercury-tainted oranges were later found in the Netherlands, West Germany, France, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
- In 1984, a new-age cult called the Rajneeshees, living on an ashram in the Oregon town of The Dalles, came into conflict with county officials over land-use issues. In a test run of a scheme to influence a local county election by making local residents too sick to vote, members of the cult deliberately contaminated salad bars at ten local restaurants with cultures of salmonella bacteria, grown from a strain obtained by the cult’s medical clinic. As a result, 751 people fell ill with food poisoning, some seriously, although none died.27
- On March 2, 1989, an employee of the U.S. Public Health Inspection Service received a telephone call from a left-wing Chilean group opposed to the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet, informing him that grapes being imported from Chile to the United States had been injected with cyanide. A phone call to the U.S. Embassy in Santiago confirmed that the threat was not a hoax. FDA investigators opened thousands of boxes of Chilean fruit and ultimately found two grapes containing small amounts of cyanide.28
- a major British producer of pastries was targeted by an attack where peanuts were introduced into a nut-free product. The factory was shut down for five days and products were recalled to reduce the risk of allergic reactions. Police ruled out accidental causes and the company lost five per cent of its annual sales.”26
- 1998 - In Germany and the Netherlands, meat and milk were found with elevated dioxin concentrations. The dioxin was traced to citrus pulp from Brazil that had been neutralized with dioxin-contaminated lime. 92,000 tons of citrus pulp was discarded. The citrus pulp market collapsed in some European countries. A tolerance level for dioxins in citrus pulp was set by the European Commission.
- 1999 - In Belgium, animal feed contaminated with dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls affected more than 2500 poultry and pig farms. This incident led to the formation of the Belgium Federal Food Safety Agency. The loss to the Belgium economy was estimated at €1500-€2000M.
- 1999-2000 - In Afghanistan, there were an estimated 400 cases of liver damage and over 100 deaths due to pyrrolizidine poisoning. The food source was not identified.
- 2001 - Spanish olive pomace oil was contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Contaminated product was recalled.
- 2002 - In Northern Ireland, nitrofurans were detected in 5 (of 45) samples of chicken imported from Thailand and Brazil. The product was withdrawn and destroyed.
- 2002 - In the UK, nitrofurans were detected in 16 (of 77) samples of prawns and shrimps imported from SE Asia. Affected batches were withdrawn and destroyed.
- 2002 - In the UK and Canada, the banned antibiotic, chloramphenicol, was found in honey from China
- 2003 - dioxins were found in animal feed that was contaminated with bakery waste that had been dried by firing with waste wood.
- 2003 - The banned veterinary antibiotic nitrofurans were found in chicken from Portugal. Poultry from 43 farms was destroyed. Nitrofurans are banned from food because of concerns including a possible increased risk of cancer in humans through long-term consumption.
- 2004 - Organic free-range chicken was found to contain traces of the banned veterinary drug, nitrofuran. Up to 23 tonnes of affected chicken, originating from a farm in Northern Ireland was distributed to supermarkets across the UK resulting in a voluntary product recall and consumer warnings.
- 2004 - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) detected chloramphenicol in honey labelled as product of Canada. Chloramphenicol is banned for use in food-producing animals, including honey bees, in Canada as well as in a number of other countries. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) informed Health Canada that five lots of honey labelled as "Product of Canada" were distributed in British Columbia and were found to contain residues of the banned drug chloramphenicol. A voluntary food recall occurred.
- 2004 - New Zealand soy milk manufactured with added kelp contained toxic levels of iodine. Consumption of this product was linked to five cases ofthyrotoxicosos. The manufacturer ceased production and re-formulated the product line.
- 2004 - New Zealand cornflour and cornflour-containing products were contaminated with lead, thought to have occurred as a result of bulk shipping of corn (maize) contaminated by previous cargo in the same storage. Affected product was distributed in New Zealand, Fiji and Australia. Four products were recalled.
- 2004 - Aflatoxin-contaminated maize in Kenya resulted in 317 cases of hepatic failure and 125 deaths.
- 2004 - EHEC O104:H4 in South Korea, researchers pointed at contaminated hamburgers as a possible cause.
- 2005 - Worcester sauce in the UK was found to contain the banned food colouring, Sudan I dye, that was traced to imported adulterated chilli powder. 576 food products were recalled.
- 2005 - Farmed salmon in British Columbia, Canada was found to contain the banned fungicide malachite green. 54 tonnes of fish was recalled. The incident resulted in an estimated $2.4-13M (USD) lost revenue.
- 2006 - Pork, in China, containing clenbuterol when pigs were illegally fed the banned chemical to enhance fat burning and muscle growth, affected over 300 persons.
- 2007 - Pet food recalls occurred in North America, Europe, and South Africa as a result of Chinese protein export contamination using melamine as an adulterant.
- 2008 - Baby milk scandal, in China. 300,000 babies affected, 51,900 hospitalisations and 6 infant deaths. Lost revenue compensation~$30M, bankruptcy, trade restrictions imposed (by 68 countries, 60 or more arrests, two executions, one life sentence, and loss of consumer confidence. Melaminefrom the contaminated protein worked into the food chain a year later
- 2008 - Wheat flour contaminated with naturally-occurring pyrrolidizine alkaloids is thought to be the cause of 38 cases of hepatic veno-occlusive diseaseincluding 4 deaths in Afghanistan
- 2008 - Irish pork and pork products exported to 23 countries was traced and much was recalled when animal feed was contaminated with dioxins in the feed drying process. The cost of cattle and pig culling exceeded €4M, compensation for lost revenue was estimated to be €200M.
- 2008 - It was discovered that additives included substances like sulfuric acid and hydrochloric acid had been used to dilute wines in Italy.
- 2009 - Pork, in China, containing clenbuterol when pigs were illegally fed the banned chemical to enhance fat burning and muscle growth. 70 persons were hospitalised in Guangzhou with stomach pains and diarrhoea after eating contaminated pig organs
- 2009 - Hoola Pops from Mexico contaminated with lead
- 2009 - Soymilk in Australia, enriched with 'Kombu' seaweed resulted in high levels of iodine, and 48 cases of thyroid problems. The product was voluntarily recalled
- 2010 - Snakes in China were contaminated with clenbuterol when fed frogs treated with clenbuterol. 13 people were hospitalised after eating contaminated snake. There were 113 prosecutions in 2011 relating to clenbuterol, with sentences ranging from three years imprisonment to death.
- 2011 - Poor-quality illegal alcohol in West Bengal has resulted in an estimated 126 deaths. The alcohol may have contained ammonium nitrate and/ormethanol.
- 2011 - German E. coli O104:H4 outbreak was caused by EHEC O104:H4 contaminated fenugreek seeds imported from Egypt in 2009 and 2010, from which sprouts were grown in Germany.
- 2011 - Vinegar from China contaminated with ethylene glycol when stored in tanks that previously contained antifreeze, led to 11 deaths and an estimated 120 cases of illness.
- 2011 - Meat, eggs and egg products in Germany contaminated from animal feed containing fat contaminated with dioxins. 4,700 German farms affected. 8,000 hens and hundreds of pigs were culled. Imports from Germany to China were banned
- 2012 - More than a quarter of a million chicken eggs are being recalled in Germany after in-house testing discovered "excessive levels" of the poisonous chemical, dioxin.
- 2012, June - A Brazilian housewife discovered an apparently used condom at the bottom of a can of Knorr tomato paste. Unilever was fined £3,100 ($4,800) by the Supreme Federal Court. She was awarded £1,110 ($1,700) for moral damages, as she and her family had consumed a meal prepared with the paste.
- 2012, July - Around 1 million pots of herbs had to be destroyed in North Rhine-Westphalia after treatment with an apparently organic plant growth strengthener was found to contain DDAC (didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride) which resulted in contamination levels above the EU MRL of 0.01 mg/kg. This has resulted in significant additional costs to member states across the EU who put in place a monitoring programme until February 2013 for DDAC and other quaternary ammonium compounds across a wide range of commodity groups.
- 2012, August - September - Multiple American Licorice Company black licorice products recalled due to high lead levels in the products. Consuming a bag of product could give children lead levels as high as 13.2 micrograms/daily limit, double the amount regulators consider actionable.
- 2013, January - It was disclosed that horse meat contaminated beef burgers had been on sale in Britain and Ireland. Two companies, ABP Food Group and Liffey Meats, had supplied various supermarkets with contaminated own brand burgers from their meat factories in the U.K. and Ireland.
- 2013, February - In Germany 200 farms are suspected of selling eggs as "organic" but not adhering to the conditions required for the label.
- 2013, March - A batch of 1800 almond cakes with butter cream and butterscotch from the Swedish supplier, Almondy on its way to the IKEA store inShanghai were found by Chinese authorities to have a too high amount of coliform bacteria and were subsequently destroyed.
- 2013, March - A vegetable seller in western Germany, Rhine Main, realized that the lettuce he had been selling throughout the day contained rat poison. The poison appears as small blue kernels.
- 2013, February-March - Contamination with aflatoxins results in a milk recall in Europe and a dog food recall in the United States. See 2013 aflatoxin contamination for further details.
- 2013, May - A Chinese crime ring was found to have passed off rat, mink, and small mammal meat as mutton for more than 1 million USD in Shanghai and Jiangsu province markets.
- 2013, May - Halal Lamb Burgers contained samples of Pork DNA, affected schools 19 schools in Leicester, UK.
- 2013, October - 2013 Taiwan food scandal
May 19, 2014 Brooklyn 4th Graders Put Rat Poison In Teacher's Water 1 sickened, 2 9 yr old suspects arrested. In Brooklyn New York, two 4th grade students were arrested after they were seen putting rat poison into a teacher's water bottle. The teacher got mildly sick but was not seriously injured. The boys reportedly wanted to see what would happen.
April 29, 2014 UK students poison teacher's coffee (pressTV) Mon May 5, 2014 Two ten-year-old British students from a primary school in Warwickshire, England tried to poison their teacher when they poured a deadly bleach-like chemical into their teacher's coffee flask while she had her back turned. The 39-year-old teacher was about to take a sip of the poisoned drink when another pupil told her what had happened. The students were suspended following the incident at Clapham Terrace Community Primary School in Leamington Spa. Warwickshire Police were called into the school just 24 hours after tragic teacher Ann Maguire was stabbed to death in the classroom in Leeds. The boys were not arrested and are now believed to be allowed back into school. dailymail google
December 18, 2013 Children Fed Poisoned Yogurt in China Nineteen school children in central China were hospitalized this week after consuming yogurt laced with poison, China's state run news agency Xinhua reported. CNN In May 3 2 girls died when a nursery school headteacher spiked food with tetramine in attempt to damage reputation of rival institution, (guardian)
October 28, 2013 In Iran, the government put poison in the food of political prisoners at Gohardasht prison to poison and kill them claims mojahedin .org
July 16, 2013 Bihar India school meal poisoning At least 23 students died of 48 who fell ill at a primary school in the Indian state of Bihar after eating a Meal contaminated with pesticide which was found in a cooking container. Blame was laid on headmistress Meena Kumari who fled after the incident with her husband. They were taken into custody on July 24 and in October charged for the murder of the children. Bihar Education Minister P K Shahi called it a case of poisoning food, not food poisoning and suspected a criminal conspiracy ill intentions towards the children.
April 29, 2013 San Jose Starbucks Orange Juice Tampering In San Jose, California, 50 year old pharmacist from Iran Ramineh Behbehanian was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder for putting rubbing alcohol into bottles of orange juice and putting them into a Starbucks refrigerator case. Customers and employees clearly noticed her pulling two bottles out of her green Starbucks bag and placing them in the open-air fridge. They smelled rubbing alcohol and liquid acetone when they opened the bottles, and San Jose authorities announced they detected lethal amounts of rubbing alcohol. In the end, it was concluded it was probably “just vinegar” and Behbehanian was released from jail without facing any charges. Her lawyer "retained by a U.S. citizen of Iranian heritage" sent a threatening letter to blogger Debbie Schlussel threatening her for her "clearly illegal defamatory blog article" demanding a retraction
July 25, 1998. 4 dead. Masumi Hayashi is a Japanese woman convicted of putting poison in a pot of curry being served at a 1998 summer festival in the Sonobe district of Wakayama, Wakayama, Japan. A communal pot of curry being served to residents of Sonobe district, Wakayama, was poisoned with at least 1,000 grams of arsenic — enough to kill over 100 people — on July 25, 1998. Two children and two adults fell sick and died after consuming the curry, and 63 others suffered from acute arsenic poisoning. Killed in the incident were 64-year old Takatoshi Taninaka and 53-year old Takaaki Tanaka (council president and vice president of Wakayama, respectively), 10 year-old Hirotaka Hayashi, and 16-year-old Miyuki Torii.