Most people forget, or choose not to think about it, but food and water can be weapons of mass distruction.

Sweden may just have experienced a little taste of this possibility.   At a minimum, Sweden joins the club of those areas that have found out food and water can be used to deliver poison on purpose to people.

Other examples include:

  • The 751 people in Wasco County, Oregon—including 45 who required hospital stays—who in 1984 ate at any one of ten salad bars in town and were poisoned with Salmonella by followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. The goal was to make people who were not followers of the cult too sick to vote in county elections.
  • Chile, where in 1989, a shipment of grapes bound for the United States was found laced with cyanide, bringing trade suspension that cost the South American country $200 million. It was very much like a 1970s plot by Palestinian terrorists to inject Israel’s Jaffa oranges with mercury.
  • The 111 people, including 40 children, sickened in May 2003 when a Michigan supermarket employee intentionally tainted 200 pounds of ground beef with an insecticide containing nicotine.
  • The former KGB agent, Mr. Litvenenko, poisoned in the UK with polonium-laced food.

The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise may be the latest such victim.  The target was the Confederation’s cafeteria  At least 140 people have been sickened with dysentery, caused by the Shigella dysenteriae bacteria.    The sick include employees and members of the confederation and guests.

Sapo, Sweden’s security service, is heading up the investigation into the outbreak since a left-wing group claimed responsibility for it on a website.

The Stockholm-based Confederation of Swedish Enterprise is an association for business and industry in Sweden.  It has 48 member associations representing close to 55.000 member companies with more than 1.5 million employees.