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WHO Warns Terrorists Could Threaten Food Supply

The World Health Organization is warning countries that they must do more to prevent terrorist attacks on food supplies.

About 1.5 million people, most of them children, die each year from eating contaminated food.

The head of the World Health Organization's food safety program, Jorgen Schlundt, says the vast majority of these deaths are not deliberately caused, but he says the potential danger is great, which is why governments should be prepared.

"The way to deal with it is to strengthen some of the systems that we already have in place," he said, "the systems for surveillance, both of disease and for surveillance of food, contamination of the food."

Dr. Schlundt says the health agency is willing to work with governments to make them more aware of the dangers terrorists pose to food supplies. It has also just issued a report, Terrorist Threats to Food, that outlines the dangers.

The health agency suggests food can be transformed into a weapon relatively easily. As the report states, chemical or biological agents can be introduced at virtually any point in the food chain.