The answer to the question in the title, at least in the context of consolidation and food safety, seems to be "no" according to this article by Anne Kim in Washington Monthly.
The subtitle of the article indicates:
And later in the article:
The article contains several interesting stories and interviews, but lacks solid evidence supporting the article's main premise that a less consolidated food system would be a safer one. Yes, there has been consolidation in agriculture. Yes, when a large firm has a food safety event, it affects more people. But, what we don't know is whether, overall, a food system with many smaller firms is safer than one with fewer larger firms. Indeed, the author even acknowledges the following:
What is not mentioned is that large size can sometimes lower the average (or per unit) cost of investing in certain food safety technologies.
I touched on this issue in my book, Unnaturally Delicious, when talking to Frank Yiannas, the Vice President of food safety at Walmart. Here's an excerpt:
Yiannas went on to talk about the value of protecting Walmart's brand, the fact that their internal safety standards far exceed government minimums, and he presented evidence that the food safety initiatives that they've implemented have improved safety for the whole country (because of their size). You'll have to read the book for all the details.
I'll also point out research by Marc Bellemare (here's his piece on the topic in the New York Times) showing a relationship between food safety outbreaks and the prevalence of farmers markets (you know, those places with many small farms and processors).
I'm not saying that larger IS unilaterally safer, but I am saying there is no solid evidence to support the broad premise behind the Washington Monthly article. There are a lot things to like about small producers and we ought to think about ways of lowering barriers to entry that are sometimes created by food safety regulations, but doesn't mean we should cast undue fear about our present food system, which is among the safest in the world.