Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Charles A. Bleckmann, PhD.


There is a threat that a terrorist or terrorist organization will use access to the US food supply to kill or sicken Americans by contaminating imported food products from Mexico. The food that Americans eat is coming more and more often from foreign countries such as Mexico. Foodborne diseases infect nearly fifty million people in the US each year, resulting in over three thousand deaths. There are many terrorist organizations that would like to deliberately contaminate American food. Drug cartels and terrorist organizations currently operate in Mexico, one of the leading food importers into the US. The purpose of this research was to determine what actions should be taken in response to the threat of biological terrorism through deliberately-contaminated food supplied from Mexico. While Americans enjoy the safest and most abundant food supply in the world, this thesis made several recommendations. First, laboratories and public health officers should continue to increase their ability to detect and identify foodborne outbreaks. Second, consumers who become sickened by foodborne pathogens should report their sickness to either the local hospital or to the local health department even if they choose to treat the sickness at home. Third, the US should increase the production of food that Americans eat with the goal of producing a self sufficient food supply. Fourth, consumers should be better informed on food safety issues to minimize the effects of bioterrorism.

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