According to the Star Ledger, officials in Dover, NJ, are worried about terrorists poisoning candy machines (hat tip – reader William A.):
Three Dover officials say they’ve found a serious homeland security threat to chew on: gumballs.They worry the colorful round treats could be poisoned by an enterprising terrorist who sees them as bait for unsuspecting targets — young kids.So, with the approval of the mayor and the skepticism of the police chief in this central Morris County town of 18,000, the three aldermen are in the middle of a nine-month inspection of Dover’s coin-operated gumball and candy machines. Thus far, they have surveyed 103 local businesses about their machines.Led by Alderman Frank Poolas, who envisioned the project and enlisted the aid of fellow Aldermen Jack Delaney and Michael Picciallo, the trio began their investigation six months ago and plan to report their results to Mayor James Dodd Jan. 1.Already they say they’ve discovered more than 100 unlicensed coin-operated machines in town — many filled with gumballs, jawbreakers and other candies they call perfect for potential terrorists.The security threat should be “looked at seriously in light of what has happened so far,” said Poolas. “Someone who wanted to do harm really could.”However, Police Chief Harold “Butch” Valentine said the police department has no reason to believe terrorists are even contemplating contaminating candy.”We’ve never received any information to the contrary. The gumballs are safe,” he said.
Oh, to be a fly on the wall in the aldermen’s meetings on this.
Not to disparage the threat of food terrorism, which is real and deadly, but maybe local Dover officials should worry less about policing gumballs and concentrate on things like policing ID fraud, maximizing information-sharing with the feds, school emergency preparedness, and cooperating with intelligence-based interagency counterterrorism probes.