Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Degree Program

Sociology, MA

Committee Chair

Gagne, Patricia L.

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Heberle, Lauren

Committee Member

Markowitz, Lisa


Food--Safety measures--Government policy--United States; Food Inspection--United States


The purpose of this study was to examine the leaders within the U.S. food safety agencies and the top U.S. food producing companies, including meat, grain, and seed, and determine the presence of connectivity between the separate organizations. This involved looking at detailed biographical information on each leader, including previous and current employment, educational background and board memberships. Following identification of the agencies, companies, and their leaders, social network analysis was utilized to locate visual and quantitative links. Using the theories of C. Wright Mills and William Domhoff, the results showed a powerful argument that the power elite is still active in the current food system and that there is an interlocking structure between the government and private sector. Finding this 'power food chain' that was formed by connectivity and overlap of leaders should be researched further and gives concern to the overall structure of the U.S. food system.

Included in

Sociology Commons