Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Strictly Butter

The NYT reports in this piece on a recent paper on how terrorists could kill or injure hundreds of thousands by dumping botulinum toxin into a milk tanker truck.

That's a cheery thought.

And the Department of Health and Human Services wrote to the National Academy of Sciences to ask them not to publish the piece.

Even better.

The authors, Lawrence M. Wein, a Stanford business professor, and Yifan Liu, a graduate student, suggested that a small quantity of toxin surreptitiously added to a tanker truck loaded with milk might poison hundreds of thousands of Americans.
* * *
"I realize it's a difficult issue - security by obscurity, versus security by transparency," Dr. Wein said. He said he decided to proceed with publication because so much of the information was already public and because he was proposing concrete steps to safeguard the milk supply.
Some experts have asserted that Dr. Wein's paper exaggerates the danger. Dr. Alberts's editorial said recent improvements in pasteurization methods might inactivate far more than 68 percent of the botulinum toxin, the assumption used in the paper.
In addition, Milton Leitenberg of the University of Maryland, and George Smith, of, have posted a critique of the milk paper on the Web, calling the paper "inflammatory" and asserting that a botulinum toxin attack would be difficult to mount.

Well, now I'm reassured.
I'm ingesting all my dairy in butter form from now on. Strictly butter.
Better judged, uh, fat by twelve than carried by six.

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