Definition of food chain in US English:

food chain


  • 1A hierarchical series of organisms each dependent on the next as a source of food.

    • ‘Taking a broader approach, what kind of impact will this have on the food chain and ecosystems?’
    • ‘If appointments continue to favour those at the top of the food chain, a great opportunity will be missed.’
    • ‘It says farmers will only continue if they are assured others in the food chain are committed to providing them with a fair return.’
    • ‘The press initially fingered Asian restaurants as a likely source of this pollution of our food chain.’
    • ‘Having once penetrated the ecosystems, they remain for a long time in the food chain.’
    • ‘What makes you so confident that the silver iodide will stay out of the food chain and not affect the environment?’
    • ‘How healthy is the supply of green matter at the bottom of the food chain?’
    • ‘A huge hit to the base of the food chain should ripple up through fish and seabirds.’
    • ‘Revolutionary changes are needed in the mechanisms that control the food chain.’
    • ‘William believes that the stability of the family business is dependent on what goes on further down the food chain.’
    • ‘If the contamination had not been discovered the pigs would have been slaughtered for food and entered the human food chain.’
    • ‘Many more cave critters die in the game because of the missing guano in the food chain.’
    • ‘The higher up the food chain that one lives, the more collects in the body.’
    • ‘The rejected meat is usually processed for pet food but can cause serious illness or even death if diverted back into the food chain.’
    • ‘As these cattle entered the food chain they would have become a potential source of infection for people.’
    • ‘Some enter the food chain through pesticides, pollution or leeching from plastic wraps and bottles.’
    • ‘Peregrines are top predators and can act as indicators of the quality of the food chain and of the surrounding environment.’
    • ‘Most of this maize was probably used for animal feed and thus entered the human food chain.’
    • ‘Then it was said to be contaminating the food chain and was a carcinogen.’
    • ‘It means that there is a lot less lead in water, in air, in the food chain and in wildlife.’
    1. 1.1informal A hierarchical system or structure within a particular sphere or group.
      ‘a small paper toward the bottom of the journalistic food chain’
      • ‘Its the responsibility of leaders and politicians higher up the food chain, who have not been as responsibile as they should.’
      • ‘Although uneducated in the social nuances of the international cocktail set, he picked it up fast and, being from lower down the food chain, was especially observant.’
      • ‘The higher up the food chain you go, the more choice you typically have.’
      • ‘Some of the sales people at the bottom end of this food chain were making several hundred thousand dollars a year.’
      • ‘The people working at the bottom of the food chain in the service industries in the US are effectively working for whatever you decide to pay them directly.’
      • ‘He kills a security guard and immediately moves up the felonious food chain from petty thug to public enemy Numero Uno.’
      • ‘He accepts his position at the bottom of the food chain, because it gives him a unique opportunity to make the lives of others miserable.’
      • ‘Families suffer when someone takes up public life, and the higher up the food chain that person gets, the greater the pressure on the family.’
      • ‘This blog is nearly two years old so maybe it is time it took a step up the food chain.’
      • ‘Having arrived in Hollywood, he then lived in a friend's closet and spent the next decade at the bottom of the Hollywood food chain.’
      • ‘The encounter showed that, however low you are on the media food chain, there's someone lower.’
      • ‘Also interesting is the way that the commanders of the camp (who are still very low on the overall food chain) try to discipline these disaffected soldiers.’
      • ‘I don't care about Harry's weight or haircut or his free trips or his position on the media food chain.’
      • ‘He knows his place in the Royal family and he considers himself to be very low down the food chain.’
      • ‘The people down the food chain in the financial services sector are (mostly) as disgusted with this swinish behavior as anyone.’
      • ‘And because doctors are at the top of the food chain, the bad behavior of even a few of them can set a corrosive tone for the whole organization.’
      • ‘Getting there is not easy but we are working our way back up the Hollywood food chain.’
      • ‘The world is about to be shown what it's like to be at the bottom of the food chain.’
      • ‘Unless they get their chance at some tough portfolios, many will remain low down the political food chain.’
  • 2The series of processes by which food is grown or produced, sold, and eventually consumed.

    ‘they have taken all reasonable steps to ensure that no contaminated products enter the food chain’
    • ‘The market for local foods needs more farmers and entrepreneurs to create other missing components of the food chain.’
    • ‘The organic food chain is still short enough and small enough for well-organized producers to be credible and meaningful suppliers and owners of that chain.’
    • ‘With the poor signals currently being sent down the food chain to beef producers there is the very real danger that the base of the British beef industry could be irreparably damaged.’
    • ‘Pembrokeshire dairy farmers are making big efficiency gains and those savings must not be snatched away further up the food chain.’
    • ‘Participants in the food chain, aside from farmers and consumers, are increasingly positioned to manage the supply of raw food ingredients.’
    • ‘Farmers want to become more focused on the market, they want to become more integrated in the food chain and they are prepared to compete with others.’
    • ‘Some of the most isolated, passive, and depressed farmers are dairy farmers, whose only role in the food chain is the production of raw fluid milk.’
    • ‘Fuller and other speakers discussed the reality of threats and steps that have been taken to beef up security along the food chain.’
    • ‘But the emerging structure of the food chain is taking more and more of the decision making out of the hands of farm entrepreneurs.’
    • ‘A managed food chain - a top-down managed food chain - is replacing the traditional food system where family farmers harvest creation's abundance and deliver nature's bounty to competitive markets.’
    • ‘Genetic modification of crops was introduced by multinational companies because it had the potential to yield huge profits, leading ultimately to the control of the food chain.’
    • ‘These standardizations, driven by the interests of a few retailers, are turning the food chain into a managed system - managed by the concentrated market clout of retailers.’
    • ‘Your customers will discover the real source and you will meet a real customer rather than one of many middle persons in the current food chain.’
    • ‘Help us explore the question: Can still more regulations make the food chain safer for our health and for our environment?’
    • ‘The structure of the food chain is becoming less and less friendly to the family farm.’


food chain

/ˈfud ˌtʃeɪn//ˈfo͞od ˌCHān/