The Canadian agriculture minister Lyle Vanclief reassured consumers last week that the bio-terrorism threat was being taken seriously, and emergency plans have been established to allow officials “to be prepared for what you don’t know you have to be prepared for”.

Vanclief provided no details, but told a news conference: “We take the threat of bio-terrorism seriously. We do have a well-planned emergency measure program, a response program in place.”

“The Canadian food supply is the safest food supply in the world. But I have to admit, and I’ll draw an analogy, we know that our highways in Canada are safe but we don’t know what is going to happen on the way home tonight,” he added.