Study examines safety of country clubs from bioterrorism

Dave Olds, a doctoral graduate in hotel, restaurant, institution management and diabetics from Kansas State University, has conducted a dissertation on bioterrorism and food security at country club restaurants to evaluate current safety precautions.

The dissertation, "Food Defense Management Practices in Private Country Clubs," comes on the heels of recent news reports that have stated that the use of bioagents to contaminate food may be the next venue for terrorist attacks, Science Daily reports.

"I identified country clubs because they typically have an exclusive population," Olds said, according to Science Daily. "They are places often visited by affluent and influential people and their families, and sometimes even government officials."

Olds, who is a former chef, surveyed managers of country clubs nationally and toured 25 country clubs in the Midwest.

"I found that intentional contamination of food isn't perceived to be a very common occurrence by club managers," Olds said, Science Daily reports. "In fact, most couldn't recollect an incident happening."

Most managers felt that disgruntled employees were more likely than those who were not employees to intentionally contaminate food, as was the case in a 2009 Kansas City restaurant when a former employee mixed pesticide into the salsa.

"One of the quotes in a recent news report on food contamination by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said that this is a difficult topic to debate without alarming the public," Olds said, according to Science Daily. "I think that's very true. It's really tricky because you want to educate employees and the board of directors, but you don't want to appear to be causing undo panic or even giving people idea."