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Last Updated: Friday, 17 October, 2003, 14:45 GMT 15:45 UK
Food industry 'prepared' against terror
Eliza Manningham-Buller
The food industry has reacted to Eliza Manningham-Buller's warning
The food industry has insisted it is taking the relevant safety precautions against a potential terrorist attack.

Food manufacturers and supermarkets say they know that food products could be targeted by terrorists and they have taken measures to ensure they are "fully prepared".

Their comments come in response to MI5 boss Eliza Manningham-Buller's speech on Thursday, when she said the food industry was among "new sectors" that "may present an attractive target for terrorists".

But food industry officials are keen to stress they have not received information about any specific threats.

A spokesman for the Food and Drink Federation said: "The food industry has been mentioned because it is something that is vital to everyone in this country.

"We feed the nation and any disruption would have a huge effect.

I think that is why it is given as an example of what could be a threat.

"Safety is our number one priority."

"We feed the nation and any disruption would have a huge effect. Safety is our number one priority."
Food and Drink Federation

Head of the New Security Issues Programme at the Royal Institute of International Affairs Chris Wright agreed the food industry could be a terror target.

He said: "The food chain has got very substantial distribution and provides a medium for carrying this sort of thing.

"It's pretty obvious that food distribution systems are extensive and if biological or chemical agents can be put into them there will be problems."

Regular updates

Supermarket giant Sainsbury's confirmed high-level meetings had taken place to discuss the issue of a potential attack.

A spokesman said: "We have regular contact with government departments, the security service and the police, along with other supermarkets.

"We are regularly updated on any necessary security information and have plans in place to ensure the safety of our customers and colleagues.

A Tesco spokesman said: "It is important to make clear that there is no specific threat."

Q&A: Terrorist threat
16 Oct 03  |  UK

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