The Korean branch of FedEx apologized Friday for transporting anthrax spores from a military lab in Utah to a U.S. base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, five months ago. FedEx says it didn’t know germ agents were in the package, reports the Korea Herald, and was very sorry for anxiety caused by the transport of anthrax. No one was hurt in the process, the shipping giant says.
Neither, it turns out, was the anthrax. The Defense Department admitted in May that the anthrax shipped from Utah’s Dugway Proving Ground to more than a dozen states and four countries ought to have been irradiated to inactivate the bacteria. A review found the spore detection process was faulty — and, potentially, had been so for 10 years. There are no indications that these shipments resulted in infections, and the samples were transported in liquid vials to minimize the chance of the bacteria going airborne.
Labs looking to obtain samples for medical research — or in response to a theoretical crisis — have found their options limited. In July, FedEx joined the U.S. Postal Service and UPS in refusing to ship the buggers.