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Food Distribution Infrastructure

  • By: O. Shawn Cupp
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

The Food Distribution Infrastructure is the total system of roads, trucks, grain elevators, supermarkets, grocery stores, distribution warehouses, meatpacking plants, and commerce links that directly execute and accomplish food distribution. This system is diverse, sprawling, and susceptible to interdiction either through naturally occurring or purposeful introduction of disease pathogens.

This is a system of nodes and links that transport, store, and provide foodstuffs available for consumption, connecting assets from hoof to plate and from field to fork. Food distributed within the United States may travel up to 1,500 miles from harvest to table, and often changes a dozen different hands along a food supply chain that links producers, packers, shippers, food manufacturers, wholesale distributors, food retailers, and consumers. These nodes follow two very distinct paths: one ...

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