Ricin is considered a prime candidate for the poison that killed Kim Jong-nam, half-brother of North Korea’s dictator, multiple publications say. One UK article links to a second article from a year ago, describing how a terror suspect, Liverpool citizen Mohammed Ammer Ali, was arrested allegedly trying to buy enough deadly ricin poison to kill a hundred people over the “dark web” following a joint operation by the FBI and British terror police.
Later reports said he was found guilty of attempting to buy enough ricin to kill well over a thousand people. Ali, a software engineer, used bitcoin to order 500mg of ricin from an online black market. He privately contacted a U.S. dealer about obtaining the deadly poison—not realizing he was negotiating with an undercover FBI agent. Ali promised to order 500mg of ricin a month for several months if he was happy with the initial product.
Earlier this week, we reported that a Georgia man who had shown support for white supremacist groups was being investigated by the FBI for possession of ricin. When he was arrested, the man was employed as a machine operator at Pilgrim’s Pride—the largest poultry company in the world— in north-central Georgia. The case illustrates the danger an insider could potentially wreak on a company and the importance of carefully vetting employees. Since 2010, there have been 23 arrests in the U.S. involving ricin, according to the FBI. Read more HERE, HERE and HERE.
Workers race to fortify dam before rains come: The Sacramento Bee reports that crews worked into the night Wednesday to shore up the emergency spillway at troubled Oroville Dam, racing to fortify the structure before a series of storms starting tonight. Three storm systems will move into Northern California during the next six days, according to the National Weather Service. Forecasters are confident the first two storm systems will not cause huge inflows into Lake Oroville, but the third system could be problematic. A dam failure would impact the entire United States, as the dam controls water flow from the soaring Sierra Nevada mountains to California’s fertile Central Valley and agricultural areas to the south. Over a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts are grown in California. The problems with the Oroville Dam have become emblematic of long-neglected infrastructure problems across the country. The dam suffers from several possibly catastrophic problems. READ MORE
Another dog food recalled: Another dog food is being recalled over concerns about contamination with pentobarbital, a drug used in euthanizing pets. One lot of Against the Grain Pulled Beef with Gravy Dinner for Dogs, manufactured and distributed in 2015 with a use-by date of December 2019, was recalled on a voluntary basis. The dog food is no longer sold at pet stores but could still be in home pantries, so the owners say the product is being recalled out of an abundance of caution. There have been no reports of illness. The Against the Grain owners are the children of the owners of Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food, which recalled its Hunk of Beef product earlier this month after several dogs belonging to one family ate the food and became sick. One dog died. An investigation into the cause of the contamination is ongoing, but this case illustrates the damage to a brand when even limited contamination occurs. READ MORE
More imported foods, more foodborne illness: Increasing demand in the U.S. for year-round access to all foods means more foreign food in grocery stores and that means more foodborne illness outbreaks from imported food. Researchers writing in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, a journal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, report 19 percent of food consumed by Americans is now imported. This includes 97 percent of fish and shell fish; 50 percent of fresh fruits; and 20 percent of fresh vegetables. READ MORE