Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Giving America the finger
Has it occurred to anyone else that the finger in the chili story out of California -- funny as it is -- is less about nasty fast food than it is about, well, bioterrorism. Or maybe eco-terrorism. The notion has obviously occurred to San Jose authorities, who are investigating the case as far south as Mexico, and accusing the woman now universally known as the 'chili finger lady,' Anna Ayala, of planting said finger in said Wendy's chili. Ayala was apparently planting the nasty seeds of a lawsuit, but that kind of corporate blackmail has much wider implications: the possibility of destroying the short-term economic prospects of the Wendy's in question, and casting a dim pall on the American fast food industry in general (I know I wouldn't set foot in a Wendy's if they paid me to eat the food, regardless of where the finger came from).

Maybe that's a stretch, but imagine if, say, your Joe average bioterrorist decided to plant something harmful in a bowl of chili, then spread the alarm through a lawsuit. What if the incidents multiplied? How many fast food workers would lose their jobs as restaurant traffic ground to a halt? How much money would it cost the retailer to save their reputation? What would be the ripple effect in the community where that restaurant was located?

Remember the tampered Tylenol and baby food scares in the early 1980s? The so-called Tylenol killers, who laced bottles of the over the counter medication with cyanide in 1982, prompting a wave of copycats that hit other headache brands, has never been caught. Four years later, glass was discovered inside bottles of Gerber baby food. Just last year, stories of ricin-poisoned baby food arose in Irvine, California. The substance in the baby food turned out not to be ricin, according to the FDA, but the scare prompted more than a few mothers to reconsider breast feeding...

Clearly a finger isn't poison or glass, but the effect is the same. And that's why authorities are taking the chili finger lady so seriously.
posted by JReid @ 12:14 PM  
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"I am for enhanced interrogation. I don't believe waterboarding is torture... I'll do it. I'll do it for charity." -- Sean Hannity
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