In Britain, manufacturers and retailers have been told that their sector is vulnerable to attacks by ideologically and politically motivated groups that may seek to cause widespread casualties and disruption by poisoning food supplies.
The warning from the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure [CPNI], which operates as part of the Security Service, comes as experts warned the deadly E.coli outbreak in Germany has highlighted the vulnerability of the food chain and how quickly bacteria can spread.
The highly virulent strain has claimed 18 lives and left more than 1,800 seriously ill, with the true number of cases expected to be far higher.
A senior German doctor last night called for an investigation into the possibility that the bacteria had been spread deliberately.
Klaus-Dieter Zastrow, chief doctor for hygiene at Berlin’s Vivantes hospital, said: “It’s quite possible that there’s a crazy person out there who thinks 'I’ll kill a few people or give 10,000 people diarrhoea’. It’s a negligent mistake not to investigate in that direction.”