In a November Fortune magazine article by Matthew Boyle, the writer visits the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, which was launched by the Department of Homeland Security, at the University of Minnesota. The center’s task is to keep the vulnerable, fast-moving U.S. food supply – which consists of an estimated 2.1 million farms, 900,000 restaurants, 115,000 food-processing plants and 34,000 supermarkets – safe from terrorism.
The writer visits a microbiologist who is working on an instrument to detect botulinum. His device detects negligible amounts of the toxin and could be put into a processing line, shutting down production to prevent a botulism outbreak if the pathogen found its way in. Both botulinum and milk have become major concerns for protection because milk comes from countless small farms, making it hard to monitor, and botulinum is among the most toxic poisons on the planet. Another scientist was working on a portable detection device that emergency first responders could use to quickly detect pathogens. For example, the device could identify if a processing plant had been tainted with the bacteria listeria within an hour.
But will companies pay for any of this expensive technology? Early surveys conducted by the center have yielded the response, “We’re not going to spend any money on this unless we have to.”
Sounds callous, but the industry’s argument is that over-spending on security-related technology currently doesn’t make sense. For instance, a beverage company is not under the same threat as a power plant. While the Bioterrorism Act of 2002, requires most food and beverage companies to keep records and make them available to the government, the onus is on the manufacturers to raise standards. Still, I would say, even with tight budgets, the human cost of dealing with one terrorist act is not something the industry can afford.
Diageo’s Tanqueray has agreed to a two-and-a-half minute media buy with Sirius Satellite Radio, featuring an original track called “Get Your Ice On.” Tanqueray becomes the first spirits company to advertise on Sirius. Inspired by the brand’s spokesperson, Tony Sinclair, the song is also the first track to be released from Tanqueray’s new virtual CD that launched online in November.
Sweet Leaf hosts Backseat
Sweet Leaf Tea Co. hosted the after-party for the independent film “Backseat,” which premiered in Austin, Texas. Backseat received top billing during the Austin Film Festival, held in October. Sweet Leaf Tea dedicates a significant amount of support to the arts on a grassroots level as well as for high-profile events. The company has donated product to several independent film and video projects.
Sïku Glacier Ice Vodka will offer five winners of its Sïku Glacier Ice Vodka Bartender Signature Drink Contest an all-expenses-paid trip to Playboy Golf’s Tee and Lingerie and Pajama Party at the Playboy Mansion in March. Bartenders who compete are to create and name a Sïku signature drink with no more than five ingredients.
Absolut Vodka was the official spirit of this year’s Latin Grammy Awards, and added the spirit to the official Latin Grammy after-party with the illuminated Absolut Bar. Absolut spokesperson Sofia Vergara and award-winning Latin hip-hop duo Akwid spiced up the party while Absolut featured the latest cocktails, including Atrevete, Coqueta and Antojo, as well as seven of Absolut’s flavors.
Audioslave entertained a crowd of nearly 20,000 concert-goers at the 12th Annual Great Shiner Bocktoberfest Music Junket. The one-day outdoor music festival showcased an eclectic mix of alternative, modern rock, country and Americana. Shiner Brewmaster Jimmy Mauric led the crowd in a toast to celebrate the Spoetzl Brewery’s 96th anniversary, and the launch of Shiner 96. Plenty of the commemorative ale was on hand for concert-goers to sample.
Go Fast Games
The Third Annual Royal Gorge Go Fast Games, held in October at the world’s highest suspension bridge in Canon City, Colo., showcased the most experienced BASE jumpers from around the world, and this year added the world’s highest bungee jump to the lineup. Holding true to the company’s foundation, Troy Widgery, founder of Go Fast, took part in both the BASE and bungee jumping, along with the Go Fast distributor from Mexico and Go Fast Athletes from Hungary.