The warning comes in the wake of deadly E. coli outbreak in Germany which has highlighted the vulnerability of the food chain and how quickly bacteria can spread

London Brit

ain is facing an emerging food " bioterrorism" threat from extremist groups like the al Qaeda, PTI reports.The British governmentalt39s security advisers have warned manufacturers and retailers that terrorist groups might try to poison supplies of food and drinks sold in the country just to cause widespread casualties, alt39 The Sunday Telegraphalt39 reported.

The warning from Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure ( CPNI), which operates as part of the Security Service, came in the wake of deadly E. coli outbreak in Germany which has highlighted the vulnerability of the food chain and how quickly bacteria can spread, the report said.

The highly virulent strain has already claimed some 18 lives and left more than 1,800 seriously ill in Germany.

The CPNI has, in fact, asked food and drinks producers, suppliers and supermarkets to tighten security at plants and depots and to identify vulnerabilities in supply chains, so as to foil any possible food " bioterrorism" attack, the report said.

One official from the CPNI told food safety experts: " The UK suffers from a low level of malicious contamination of food by the bad, the mad and the sad.

Now it has to consider the possibility of food supplies being disrupted by politically motivated groups." The CPNI report sent to companies in the food industry actually warns of a number of threats.

Attackers could contaminate prepared food or drinks with bacteria or chemicals. Or, by targeting basic ingredients used in large numbers of foods, they could cause even wider disruption, the report said.

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