Terror outfit Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is planning to attack American food supplies with poisonous chemicals, officials said.
A source "with knowledge of the situation" said authorities have obtained information that indicated a possible plot by the AQAP to target food at hotels and restaurants in the US, perhaps slipping harmful agents into salad bars or buffets, Fox News reported on Tuesday.
"We don't have a specific target or time frame, just the intent," the source said.
Nevertheless, authorities are not convinced that the outfit has the capability to actually carry out such an attack, the source added.
CBS News recently reported that the plot may involve the use of ricin or cyanide.
Officials from the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Agriculture, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have briefed corporate security officers in the hotel and restaurant industries about the potential threat, CBS News said.
The White House's chief counter-terrorism adviser, John Brennan, has described AQAP as "now the most operationally active node of the Al Qaeda network".
Brennan, however, said they have put "appropriate resources in place" to protect against attacks during the current holiday season.
On Christmas Day 2009, Nigerian national Umar F Abdulmutallab tried to detonate his explosives-laden underwear over Detroit. He was allegedly trained and equipped by the AQAP.
In October 2010, two explosives-laden packages were sent from Yemen to the US, but the packages were intercepted overseas after Saudi intelligence officials shared information about the plot.