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View Full Version : Does the U.S. President have food tasters?


diggleblop
07-01-2006, 01:35 PM
Kings, noblemen and various leaders used to have (and some still do) food tasters or food TESTERS rather. They would eat pieces of the meal to see if it was laced with poison to prevent the death of their leader. Self explanatory....

Does the U.S. President of today or any other leader of today have anything equivalent? I would think so. My ex-girlfriend's dad used to be a flight attendant on Air Force One in the Clinton era, but I never got around to asking him how they tested his food.

brianjedi
07-01-2006, 01:39 PM
The President has a personal chef, who has to undergo rigorous background checks, and if he decides he wants fast food or something, the Secret Service has a small list of restaurants that they've done thorough inspections of, including employees.

I would think that in this day and age, it would be difficult to even get someone close to a position where they could tamper with the President's food.

Revtim
07-01-2006, 01:45 PM
I would also think that with slow-acting poisons a taster would be all but useless.

Annie-Xmas
07-01-2006, 01:59 PM
Bush Sr. could have used one in Japan.

friedo
07-01-2006, 02:20 PM
The President does not have a food taster, however, on occasional overseas trips, the Secret Service has admitted to bringing mice to test food for poisons, since it's difficult to thoroughly investigate foreign chefs and kitchen staff.

diggleblop
07-01-2006, 04:48 PM
Interesting.

Dunderman
07-01-2006, 04:51 PM
The concept of a food taster is somewhat antithetical to the modern ideals of equality.

diggleblop
07-01-2006, 04:56 PM
It is, but the President is the President. Elitism is elitism. lol

Revtim
07-01-2006, 05:25 PM
The concept of a food taster is somewhat antithetical to the modern ideals of equality.Although I think they'd be all but useless, I would see the use of a food taster as merely an indication of higher risk of being poisoned, not that the president is seen as better than anybody else.

OKFMDOA
07-01-2006, 05:44 PM
And realistically, there are plenty of people in the world that would jump at the chance to kill him if they could. I'm not making a political statement - this is true of any powerful world leader.

For the average person, the chances that anyone would want to poison them is extremely low.

Dunderman
07-01-2006, 05:48 PM
Although I think they'd be all but useless, I would see the use of a food taster as merely an indication of higher risk of being poisoned, not that the president is seen as better than anybody else.That's not the aspect I'm referring too; I mean the aspect of having another human being take the poison in your stead.

Askia
07-01-2006, 06:30 PM
Now we know how all those Presidents with White House dogs had those pets earning their keep.

Asimovian
07-01-2006, 06:42 PM
The President does not have a food taster, however, on occasional overseas trips, the Secret Service has admitted to bringing mice to test food for poisons, since it's difficult to thoroughly investigate foreign chefs and kitchen staff.Do you have a cite for that? I ask out of curiousity, not as a challenge to your statement. I can certainly understand the logic in the SS having done so.

Drum God
07-01-2006, 06:43 PM
The President has a personal chef, who has to undergo rigorous background checks, and if he decides he wants fast food or something, the Secret Service has a small list of restaurants that they've done thorough inspections of, including employees.

I would think that in this day and age, it would be difficult to even get someone close to a position where they could tamper with the President's food.

I don't believe this is true. I seem to remember watching some A&E or Discovery Channel program about the White House (or maybe Air Force One's) operation. By way of groceries, an ordinary staffer goes and purchases the groceries for the president. They randomly select the store, time, and groceries. It would be impossible to poison the president since no one would know where the groceries are coming from. For restaurant-type visits, I would think that the same thing would be true. A potential assasin couldn't pre-position the posion since the visit wasn't planned or announced. I would imagine that, once the president walks into the McDonald's, the secret service is going to very carefully observe the meal's assembly.

Shagnasty
07-01-2006, 06:48 PM
I read that the Secret Service and White House kitchen staff shop for many groceries in plain clothes in random DC area grocery stores. It would be difficult for someone to find out what the food is for let alone tamper with it by the time they bought it. More directly, my wife's family is a major importer/distributor of gourmet cheeses and other specialty foods. The White House orders their products for special dinners a few times a year. The have strict guidelines such as the product must be in perfect, unopened condition (not always the norm for cheeses) and it gets sent to a special distributor in DC to get sent to the White House. I don't know what they do with it in between time but it would be exceptionally difficult to make a top level person get a given piece of food.

Revtim
07-01-2006, 07:29 PM
That's not the aspect I'm referring too; I mean the aspect of having another human being take the poison in your stead.Yeah, that's a good point. I always felt a little uncomfortable about that aspect of the service service, where they are supposed to take a bullet for the president.

Drum God
07-01-2006, 07:35 PM
Yeah, that's a good point. I always felt a little uncomfortable about that aspect of the secret service, where they are supposed to take a bullet for the president.

But that's exactly it. The Secret Service agents take a bullet for the president, not GWBush. They don't take the position that their lives are of less value than the president's. It is that the nation is worth their sacrifice. The Secret Service does not protect the office holder -- they protect the office. They protect the very legitimacy of the United States government.

Blake
07-01-2006, 07:37 PM
Of course in the real world the President is more important than a Serive agent. If a food taster dies the market doesn't crash, no wars are going to start, no social upheaval will follow and so forth.

That is a large part of the reason why Service agents are expected to lay down their lives to save the Prez. The social chaos that can potentially follow a dead president makes the President worth more alive than the average man. That's not because he is inherently worth more but because he is worth more due to his position.

Of course the other reason is that by ensuring that any attempts are likely to fail you make such attempts much less likely. Nobody gains notoriety for killing Service agents in failed assasination attempts.

Dunderman
07-01-2006, 07:42 PM
But that's exactly it. The Secret Service agents take a bullet for the president, not GWBush. They don't take the position that their lives are of less value than the president's. It is that the nation is worth their sacrifice. The Secret Service does not protect the office holder -- they protect the office. They protect the very legitimacy of the United States government.The Secret Service agents have a job to do, and they do it. Yes, part of that job is to, when all else fails, get between an assassin-to-be and the President, but it's a small part and it rarely comes into play.

A food taster, on the other hand, would simply be ablative armour, an expendable life.

seenidog
07-01-2006, 07:57 PM
Yes, it is called the public. Recent polls indicate a bad taste left in the mouth of anyone who makes a barely living wage, but those making millions find it quite tasty.

Raguleader
07-01-2006, 08:04 PM
The Secret Service agents have a job to do, and they do it. Yes, part of that job is to, when all else fails, get between an assassin-to-be and the President, but it's a small part and it rarely comes into play.

A food taster, on the other hand, would simply be ablative armour, an expendable life.

On the other hand, imagine how cool it would be if you could get paid well just to eat meals made for the President? I bet he doesn't get crappy cafeteria meatloaf that often.

diggleblop
07-01-2006, 08:25 PM
My ex's dad was on Air Force One about a year after G Dubbya got in office. He told me that they do in fact stock the plane withe anything the Pres requests, which is no uncommon. He did tell me however that the President demanded Lone Star Beer from Texas to be on hand at ALL TIMES. lol Crazy hick. Born in Connecticut, but now he's pure Texan. ha.

Rigamarole
07-01-2006, 08:26 PM
Yeah, that's a good point. I always felt a little uncomfortable about that aspect of the service service, where they are supposed to take a bullet for the president.

That would make me rather uncomfortable too, if I was the one who did it (which I wouldn't).

"This was supposed to be your bullet, asshole."

Shagnasty
07-01-2006, 08:34 PM
My ex's dad was on Air Force One about a year after G Dubbya got in office. He told me that they do in fact stock the plane withe anything the Pres requests, which is no uncommon. He did tell me however that the President demanded Lone Star Beer from Texas to be on hand at ALL TIMES. lol Crazy hick. Born in Connecticut, but now he's pure Texan. ha.

Bush the 2nd is a recovering alcoholic. Maybe he wanted to watch other people drink it but it seems like an odd thing for him to request.

diggleblop
07-01-2006, 08:43 PM
Possibly, that's what the guy told me though.

friedo
07-01-2006, 09:30 PM
Do you have a cite for that? I ask out of curiousity, not as a challenge to your statement. I can certainly understand the logic in the SS having done so.

Here's one from The Guardian:


A humble mouse is to put its life on a plate for US president George Bush this weekend - acting as his official food taster to thwart any attempt at a bio-chemical assasination.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1065769,00.html

I've seen similar writeups from AP and so forth, you can probably find them with a bit of googling.

brianjedi
07-01-2006, 11:06 PM
I don't believe this is true. I seem to remember watching some A&E or Discovery Channel program about the White House (or maybe Air Force One's) operation. By way of groceries, an ordinary staffer goes and purchases the groceries for the president. They randomly select the store, time, and groceries. It would be impossible to poison the president since no one would know where the groceries are coming from. For restaurant-type visits, I would think that the same thing would be true. A potential assasin couldn't pre-position the posion since the visit wasn't planned or announced. I would imagine that, once the president walks into the McDonald's, the secret service is going to very carefully observe the meal's assembly.

It certainly may have changed in the past few years; my response was based on a magazine article I read during the first Clinton administration. Apparently he had a fondness for Domino's Pizza.

The White House chef does have to undergo a full FBI background check, though.

Asimovian
07-01-2006, 11:32 PM
Here's one from The Guardian:



http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1065769,00.html

I've seen similar writeups from AP and so forth, you can probably find them with a bit of googling.Many thanks! Interesting article...my first thought, though, was that if the host country is providing the guinea mice, wouldn't it be possible for somone to develop mice who are immune to the poison of choice?

Ah well....

alphaboi867
07-01-2006, 11:51 PM
Bush the 2nd is a recovering alcoholic. Maybe he wanted to watch other people drink it but it seems like an odd thing for him to request.
He may have fallen off the wagon, though if he did it would be in more papers than the Star.

Blalron
07-02-2006, 12:22 AM
Bush the 2nd is a recovering alcoholic. Maybe he wanted to watch other people drink it but it seems like an odd thing for him to request.

Well, if want to nitpick, he had some sort of problem with drinking until he supposedly quit at the age of 40. But Bush has never ADMITTED to being an alcoholic and I don't believe any of his closest friends or family have gone public with that revelatio

Blalron
07-02-2006, 12:37 AM
Well, if want to nitpick, he had some sort of problem with drinking until he supposedly quit at the age of 40. But Bush has never ADMITTED to being an alcoholic and I don't believe any of his closest friends or family have gone public with that revelatio

revelation

astro
07-02-2006, 02:06 AM
My ex's dad was on Air Force One about a year after G Dubbya got in office. He told me that they do in fact stock the plane withe anything the Pres requests, which is no uncommon. He did tell me however that the President demanded Lone Star Beer from Texas to be on hand at ALL TIMES. lol Crazy hick. Born in Connecticut, but now he's pure Texan. ha.


Really? I thought he was a non-drinker these days (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_W._Bush_substance_abuse_controversy).

Bush has said he gave up drinking after waking up with a hangover after his 40th birthday celebration: "I quit drinking in 1986 and haven't had a drop since then." He ascribed the change in part to a 1985 meeting with Reverend Billy Graham, after which he began serious Bible study, as well as to gentle but firm pressure from his wife, Laura. [3] [4] [5] Friends recall that Bush said nothing of his decision, even to Laura, until many weeks later when they realized that he had not had so much as a single beer in the interim.

Mr. Slant
07-02-2006, 02:15 AM
revelation

Thanks for finishing that post! I thought the Black Helicopters had blasted you before you could finish typing....

friedo
07-02-2006, 02:21 AM
Even if Bush doesn't drink, he may wish to provide his formerly favorite beer to the many people who fly on AF1 with him.

diggleblop
07-02-2006, 02:29 AM
Really? I thought he was a non-drinker these days (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_W._Bush_substance_abuse_controversy).


Out of curiousity, what does requesting a certain beer have to do with him drinking it or not? He (as others have stated) could be getting it for the 500 people that fly on the plane with him.

Hogwash
07-02-2006, 02:37 AM
More importantly, does he have somebody to chew his pretzels for him?

/rimshot

medstar
07-02-2006, 04:47 PM
I was wondering, what happens when the president decides on the spur of the moment, to eat at a popular, busy restaurant? Are the diners who are already eating allowed to finish, or do the secret service forcibly escort them out and tell them to be on their way? What about other diners who have reservations? Also, what about all the cars in the parking lot? Are they all towed away? And the biggie: What if the owner/head chef just doesn't think the hassle of the secret service is worth the notoriety of serving the president, and tells the president to find somewhere else to eat? How would that go over?

Raguleader
07-04-2006, 01:32 AM
I was wondering, what happens when the president decides on the spur of the moment, to eat at a popular, busy restaurant? Are the diners who are already eating allowed to finish, or do the secret service forcibly escort them out and tell them to be on their way? What about other diners who have reservations? Also, what about all the cars in the parking lot? Are they all towed away? And the biggie: What if the owner/head chef just doesn't think the hassle of the secret service is worth the notoriety of serving the president, and tells the president to find somewhere else to eat? How would that go over?

Well, until we can answer the question of whether or not everyone is hustled out or not, the rest of the questions are kinda moot. Largely, I imagine it would depend on the relative personalities of the Prez and his security detail's head (ie: who would likely win in an argument on whether they should eat at Shenannigans at the spur of the moment), and from there it would depend on the management of the restaraunt.

The element of suprise would probably factor in (since presumably any would-be assassins would have little time to prepare in such a case) and there would be Secret Service guys hanging out in the back making sure the food is not tampered with.

gazpacho
07-04-2006, 11:36 AM
I was wondering, what happens when the president decides on the spur of the moment, to eat at a popular, busy restaurant? Are the diners who are already eating allowed to finish, or do the secret service forcibly escort them out and tell them to be on their way? What about other diners who have reservations? Also, what about all the cars in the parking lot? Are they all towed away? And the biggie: What if the owner/head chef just doesn't think the hassle of the secret service is worth the notoriety of serving the president, and tells the president to find somewhere else to eat? How would that go over?I am pretty sure that the president does not decide to do these sorts of things on the spur of the moment. For all the reasons you state.