Does the U.S. President have food tasters?

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.

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 would also think that with slow-acting poisons a taster would be all but useless.

Bush Sr. could have used one in Japan.

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.


The concept of a food taster is somewhat antithetical to the modern ideals of equality.

It is, but the President is the President. Elitism is elitism. lol

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.

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.

That’s not the aspect I’m referring too; I mean the aspect of having another human being take the poison in your stead.

Now we know how all those Presidents with White House dogs had those pets earning their keep.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.