In the United States, food arrives on a consumer's table via many paths of production and distribution, but the most common and typical path is as follows: growers (crop and animal cooperatives, farms, ranches, importers) sell food crops to food processors (packers, canners, or other manufacturing/processing/packaging operations). For example, grain farmers (e.g., those who grow wheat, corn, soybeans, barley, rice, sorghum, oats) bring their crops to grain elevators, which in turn ship it to makers of cereal or flour. The cereal manufacturers then sell to wholesale distributors, who in turn sell to retailers.
Individual manufacturers and wholesale distributors do not freely discuss measures they take to protect the commodities they ship from intentional contamination, beyond prohibiting nonemployees from entering warehouses, rail yards, feedlots, or grain silos. We note that interfering with the shipment of commodities by an interstate carrier, such as a trucking firm
Handbook of Biosurveillance ISBN 0-12-369378-0
or railroad, is a federal crime. Railroads employ their own fully certified police officers to protect railroad property, but their officers, few in number, are responsible for vast territories.
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