A Virginia lab is testing about 400 pounds of samples from vendors who will supply food at the Democratic National Convention. This is part of a routine effort to keep food supplies safe at high-profile events.
This is not food that will actually be eaten by delegates or maybe even Hillary Clinton herself, the samples will be discarded after testing is done. The tests are just a way get representative samples from vendors to check their food handling practices, and to ensure no one has tampered with food supplies.
“Typically the field inspectors will include foods that may represent the local flair of where the convention is being held,” said Angela Fritzinger, deputy director of Consolidated Laboratory Services in Richmond, Virginia who cautioned that she wasn’t allowed to offer up too many details.
“So being in Philly, you can imagine that we probably received the meat for Philly cheesesteak, and when the convention was in North Carolina, we received BBQ,” she said.
Fritzinger says the tests go beyond the usual suspects. “We’re actually looking for things more along the lines of bio threat agents, because it is such a high priority event. So we’re looking at things that someone may have put into the food to intentionally contaminate it.” That could include looking for anthrax spores or cyanide.
Fritzinger’s lab is part of the Food Emergency Response Network — a collection of labs that help back up the nation’s two food regulatory agencies, the FDA and USDA.
The network was formed after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks as part of an initiative to keep the country’s food supplies safe.