Tuesday, March 17, 2009


By now you're numbingly familiar with idiotic security measures brought about as a result of the war on terror. For example, two weeks ago readers learned of a microbrewer in San Luis Obispo badgered into hardening his brewing tanks against bioterrorists. (See here.)

This week, a food writer at the San Francisco weekly writes about how US security measures wiped some cheeses off the shelf, also out of fears of bioterrorism. Keep repeating to yourself: It was an American in the bioterror defense industry who was the big bioterrorist, putting anthrax in the mail, not food. And the only thing which has been screwing with food safety is American big business.

"After the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government responded in many ways that bore no rational relation to terrorist threats: invading Iraq, making it harder for Chinese nationals to get or renew student visas, X-raying our shoes at airport security checks,"
writes Robert Lauriston
. "Perhaps the most absurdly tangential of these was the Bioterrorism Act of 2002, which did zip to prevent terrorists from smuggling in bioweapons, but effectively removed raw-milk cheeses aged less than 60 days from the American market.

"Such cheeses had technically been banned for years, but, since the rules were laxly enforced, determined shoppers could sometimes track them down. Raw-milk Camembert de Normandie, Reblochon, and Crème Fraiche d'Isigny, for example, were often available in the Bay Area's better cheese shops. After the Bioterrorism Act went into effect in 2003, they disappeared."

When a food writer derisively dismisses defenses against bioterrorism, one begins to realized that a large number of people, from all walks of life, now know a lot of stuff brought to town for the war on terror is a racket. As said repeatedly here, it's consistant with predator state security, something -- like biosecurity -- which started with good intent but which now exists primarily to enrich the people, organizations and companies involved in it, without actually providing any meaningful security or give back value to society. (See this example and This one for another joke: Worthless penny stock-picking services recommending people invest in two small companies involved in bioterror defense, one of which -- DOR Biopharma -- is developing a ricin vaccine. Keep in mind, no one ever dies from ricin poisoning in the US.)

At the SF Weekly, food writer Lauritson goes on to describe how a French company, Herve Mons, is trying to sell a bioterror-safe version of its raw camembert.

Predator state security -- from the archives.


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