Publications

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  • Beyond Nutrition and Organic Labels—30 Years of Experience With Intervening in Food Labels

    ERR-239, November 17, 2017

    ERS researchers examine five food label case studies that show the economic effects and tradeoffs involved in setting product standards, verifying claims, and enforcing truthfulness.

  • Economic Burden of Major Foodborne Illnesses Acquired in the United States

    EIB-140, May 12, 2015

    Each year, 1 in 6 people in the United States is sickened by a foodborne illness acquired in the States. ERS provides an overview of recent estimates of the economic burden imposed annually by 15 leading foodborne pathogens.

  • Economic Incentives to Supply Safe Chicken to the National School Lunch Program

    ERR-202, November 24, 2015

    Suppliers of raw chicken to the National School Lunch Program had modestly better food safety performance on Salmonella spp. tests than chicken slaughter establishments supplying the commercial market.

  • Economics of Antibiotic Use in U.S. Livestock Production

    ERR-200, November 24, 2015

    How widespread is use of antibiotics in U.S. livestock? What would be the affect on farmer practices and profits, and on supplies and prices, if antibiotic use for productivity-enhancing purposes were limited?

  • Economics of Food Labeling

    AER-793, January 25, 2001

    Federal intervention in food labeling is often proposed with the aim of achieving a social goal such as improving human health and safety, mitigating environmental hazards, averting international trade disputes, or supporting domestic agricultural and food manufacturing industries. Economic theory suggests, however, that mandatory food-labeling requirements are best suited to alleviating problems of asymmetric information and are rarely effective in redressing environmental or other spillovers associated with food production and consumption. Theory also suggests that the appropriate role for government in labeling depends on the type of information involved and the level and distribution of the costs and benefits of providing that information. This report traces the economic theory behind food labeling and presents three case studies in which the government has intervened in labeling and two examples in which government intervention has been proposed.

  • Food Loss—Questions About the Amount and Causes Still Remain

    Amber Waves, June 02, 2014

    ERS estimates that 31 percent, or 133 billion pounds, of food available for consumption in U.S. grocery stores, restaurants, and homes went uneaten in 2010. Greater awareness of the amount of food loss—and where and why it occurs—may help spur public and private responses.

  • Food Safety Practices and Costs Under the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement

    EIB-173, June 07, 2017

    Interviews with firms participating in an existing food safety program, California's Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement, offer insights into what the recent FSMA Produce Rule will mean for the U.S. produce industry.

  • Food Safety and Trade: Regulations, Risks, and Reconciliation

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2003

    Global food trade is expanding, providing consumers with access to a wider year-round variety of foods at lower prices. Trade expansion, however, has brought into sharper focus the divergence among countries’ food safety regulations and standards.

  • Food Traceability: One Ingredient in a Safe and Efficient Food Supply

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2004

    Food traceability is not only newsworthy, but investment worthy, too. Food producers have voluntarily built traceability systems to track the grain in a cereal box to the farm and the apples in a vat of apple juice to the orchard. However, traceability is just one element of any supply-management or quality/safety control system.

  • Local Bank Office Ownership, Deposit Control, Market Structure, and Economic Growth

    TB-1886, June 12, 2000

    The restructuring of commercial banking has heightened interest in its economic consequences both for the economy as a whole and for those most likely to bear adverse consequences: small businesses, small banks, and rural areas. Most previous research on bank restructuring focuses on changes in bank behavior. In contrast, this paper focuses on the empirical association between local economic performance and changes in local bank market regulation and structure. Findings suggest that mergers or acquisitions of local banks by nonlocal banks need not impair local economic growth, and may even have beneficial effects in rural markets, with the possible exception of farm-dependent areas. These findings are derived from empirical models that relate both shortrun and longrun growth in real per-capita personal income to geographic restrictions on bank activity, local bank (deposit) market concentration, local or nonlocal ownership of local bank offices, and local or nonlocal control of local bank deposits.

  • Market Incentives Raise Food Safety Bar

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2004

    Slaughter and processing plants today are increasingly reacting to stringent requirements for pathogen control set out by large meat and poultry buyers. These buyers reward suppliers who meet the standards and punish those who do not, in effect raising the food safety bar.

  • Patterns in FDA Food Import Refusals Highlight Most Frequently Detected Problems

    Amber Waves, March 28, 2016

    ERS research shows that problems with adulterated and misbranded food imports persist, despite FDA’s deterrence and detection efforts. Fishery/seafood products, vegetable/vegetable products, and fruit/fruit products were the industries with the most shipments refused in 2005-13 and also in 1998-2004.

  • Public Disclosure of Tests for Salmonella: The Effects on Food Safety Performance in Chicken Slaughter Establishments

    ERR-231, May 26, 2017

    ERS analyzed the impact of a USDA regulatory initiative that identified commercial chicken slaughter establishments with poor or mediocre ratings on Salmonella tests – specifically, how this has affected the outcome of subsequent tests.

  • Regulation, Market Signals, and the Provision of Food Safety in Meat and Poultry

    Amber Waves, May 26, 2017

    Public disclosure of information on food safety performance enables buyers to make more informed purchasing decisions regarding food safety, thereby signaling their demand for a higher level of food safety.

  • Savvy Buyers Spur Food Safety Innovations in Meat Processing

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2004

    Though food safety and food safety innovations are desirable, meat processors face special challenges that weaken their incentives to invest in food safety improvements. Some restaurant chains and large retailers are setting and enforcing safety standards and creating markets for food safety. As a result, they are driving increases in food safety investments throughout the meat supply chain.

  • Slaughter and Processing Options and Issues for Locally Sourced Meat

    LDPM-216-01, June 19, 2012

    ERS evaluates slaughter and processing capacity for local meat production, and the options available to livestock producers selling to local markets. Local demand is still a small share of total demand.

  • The California Leafy Greens Industry Provides an Example of an Established Food Safety System

    Amber Waves, June 07, 2017

    The California Leafy Greens Products Handler Marketing Agreement (LGMA) was established in 2007 to provide a minimum food safety standard for that industry. A recent ERS case study examined the 2012 food safety practices and costs of seven large LGMA participants.

  • The Food Safety Performance of Ground Beef Suppliers to the National School Lunch Program

    ERR-180, December 22, 2014

    Overall, ERS found that on Salmonella spp tests, suppliers of ground beef to the National School Lunch Program equaled or surpassed the food safety performance of suppliers of ground beef to general commercial markets.

  • The Interplay of Regulation and Marketing Incentives in Providing Food Safety

    ERR-75, July 10, 2009

    Both Government regulations and private-sector-determined actions have resulted in the current level of safety in meat and poultry products. Focusing on process control, ERS examines the relative contributions of regulations and management-determined initiatives.

  • The Size and Scope of Locally Marketed Food Production

    Amber Waves, February 02, 2015

    In 2012, 163,675 farmers sold an estimated $6.1 billion in local foods. "Local foods" includes food for human consumption sold via direct-to-consumer (e.g., farmers’ markets, on-farm stores, farm stands, pick-your-own activities, and other farmer-to-consumer venues) and intermediated marketing channels (sales directly to restaurants, grocers, schools, universities and other institutions).