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  • Food Safety and International Trade: Theoretical Issues

    AIB-789-2, February 28, 2004

    This research brief examines the conceptual relationships between food safety and international trade.

  • Seafood Safety and Trade

    AIB-789-7, February 28, 2004

    This research summarizes three case studies of how trade in seafood products can be affected by food safety concerns.

  • Mycotoxin Regulations: Implications for International Agricultural Trade

    AIB-789-6, February 28, 2004

    This research brief discusses regulations intended to control mycotoxins in the food supply, and examines their implications for international trade.

  • Response to U.S. Foodborne Illness Outbreaks Associated with Imported Produce

    AIB-789-5, February 28, 2004

    This report examines how U.S. and other nations responded to foodborne illness outbreaks traced to internationally-traded food.

  • Food Safety and International Trade

    AIB-789-1, February 28, 2004

    This research brief presents some of the highlights of the ERS report, "International Trade and Food Safety: Economic Theory and Case Studies."

  • Resolving Trade Disputes Arising from Trends in Food Safety Regulation: The Role of the Multilateral Governance Framework

    AIB-789-3, February 28, 2004

    This research brief examines the conceptual relationships between food safety and international trade, and discusses ways to resolve safety-related trade disputes.

  • Food Safety Issues for Meat/Poultry Products and International Trade

    AIB-789-4, February 28, 2004

    This research summarizes three case studies of how trade in meat and poultry products can be affected by food safety concerns.

  • International Trade and Food Safety: Economic Theory and Case Studies

    AER-828, November 07, 2003

    This report examines the conceptual relationships between food safety and international trade and analyzes empirical examples from the meat and poultry, produce, food and animal feed crop, and seafood sectors.

  • Managing for Safer Food: The Economics of Sanitation and Process Controls in Meat and Poultry Plants

    AER-817, April 08, 2003

    This study evaluates the costs of sanitation and process control in producing meat and poultry. The study shows that the costs of sanitation and process control as required by the Pathogen Reduction/Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (PR/HACCP) rule of 1996 raised wholesale meat and poultry prices by about 1 percent.

  • Weighing Incentives for Food Safety in Meat and Poultry

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2003

    Two massive recalls of ground beef and turkey luncheon meats linked to foodborne illnesses in the Midwest and Northeast in the fall of 2002 put food safety concerns back in the headlines. These unusually large recalls are part of an increasing number of meat and poultry recalls over the past several years.

  • Consumer Food Safety Behavior: A Case Study in Hamburger Cooking and Ordering

    AER-804, May 17, 2002

    This report examines changes in hamburger preparation behavior, the reasons for the changes, the medical costs saved as a result of the changes, and the implications for future food safety education.

  • Changing Structure of Global Food Consumption and Trade

    WRS-01-1, May 30, 2001

    Higher income, urbanization, other demographic shifts, improved transportation, and consumer perceptions regarding quality and safety are changing global food consumption patterns. Shifts in food consumption have led to increased trade and changes in the composition of world agricultural trade. Given different diets, food expenditure and food budget responses to income and price changes vary between developing and developed countries. In developing countries, higher income results in increased demand for meat products, often leading to increased import of live-stock feed. Diet diversification and increasing demand for better quality and labor-saving products have increased imports of high-value and processed food products in developed countries. Consumer groups in developed countries have also brought attention to organic production of food and the topic of animal welfare. One way in which the public and private sectors have responded to consumer demand for these quality attributes has been by developing and implementing mandatory and voluntary quality control, management, and assurance schemes.

  • Valuing the Health Benefits of Food Safety: A Proceedings

    MP-1570, April 02, 2001

    Because each Federal agency uses a different valuation method to estimate the costs of illness, it is difficult to compare programs across agencies. As a first step toward generating a consensus on the current state of knowledge and deciding on a common approach, several agencies planned this conference, held September 14-15, 2000, at the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland. The outcome of the conference will serve as guidance for a consensus approach. The conference was sponsored by the following organizations: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Economic Research Service, USDA; Food and Drug Administration; NE-165 Regional Research Project; Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, USDHHS; and The Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

  • Product Liability and Microbial Foodborne Illness

    AER-799, April 01, 2001

    This report examines how product liability law treats personal injuries attributed to microbially contaminated foods. The risk of lawsuits stemming from microbial foodborne illness and the resulting court-awarded compensation may create economic incentives for firms to produce safer food. It is not known how many consumers seek compensation for damages from contaminated foods because information about complaints and legal claims involving foodborne illness is not readily accessible, especially for cases that are settled out of court. Reviewing the outcomes of 175 jury trials involving foodborne pathogens, the analysis identifies several factors that influence trial outcomes, while noting that the awards won by plaintiffs tend to be modest.

  • 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.

  • Tracing the Costs and Benefits of Improvements in Food Safety

    AER-791, November 16, 2000

    The level and distribution of the costs and benefits of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulatory program for meat and poultry change dramatically once economywide effects are included in the analysis. Using a Social Accounting Matrix Model, we find that reduced premature deaths had a strong positive effect on household income, with economywide benefits almost double initial benefits. Contrary to expectations, reduced medical expenses resulted in a decrease in household income, while HACCP costs resulted in an increase. Net economywide benefits were slightly larger than initial net benefits, with poor households receiving a proportionally smaller share of the increased benefits than nonpoor because of their weak ties to the economy. Our SAM analysis provides policymakers useful information about who ultimately benefits from reduced foodborne illnesses and who ultimately pays the costs of food safety regulation. This analysis also sheds light on a number of issues central to cost-benefit analysis involving health, highlighting the danger of equating changes in income with changes in well-being.

  • Estimated Annual Costs of Campylobacter-Associated Guillain-Barre Syndrome

    AER-756, July 01, 1997

    Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) is an autoimmune reaction that can cause acute neuro-muscular paralysis. Of an estimated 2,628 to 9,575 new U.S. cases with GBS annually, 526 to 3,830 are triggered by infection with Campylobacter, the most frequently isolated cause of foodborne diarrhea. Estimated total annual costs of Campylobacter-associated GBS of $0.2 to $1.8 billion plus previously estimated costs of campylobacteriosis ($1.3 to $6.2 billion) add to total annual costs from Campylobacter of $1.5 to $8.0 billion (1995 dollars). Assuming 55-70 percent of costs are attributable to foodborne sources, costs of campylobacteriosis from food sources ($0.7 to $4.3 billion) and costs of associated GBS ($0.1 to $1.3 billion) combined equal total annual costs of $0.8 to $5.6 billion from foodborne Campylobacter. Reducing Campylobacter in food could prevent up to $5.6 billion in costs annually.

  • Economic Assessment of Food Safety Regulations: The New Approach to Meat and Poultry Inspection

    AER-755, July 01, 1997

    USDA is now requiring all Federally inspected meat and poultry processing and slaughter plants to implement a new system called Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) to reduce potentially harmful microbial pathogens in the food supply. This report finds that the benefits of the new regulations, which are the medical costs and productivity losses that are prevented when foodborne illnesses are averted, will likely exceed the costs, which include spending by firms on sanitation, temperature control, planning and training, and testing. Other, nonregulatory approaches can also improve food safety, such as providing market incentives for pathogen reduction, irradiation, and education and labeling to promote safe food handling and thorough cooking.

  • Bacterial Foodborne Disease: Medical Costs and Productivity Losses

    AER-741, August 01, 1996

    Microbial pathogens in food cause an estimated 6.5-33 million cases of human illness and up to 9,000 deaths in the United States each year. Over 40 different foodborne microbial pathogens, including fungi, viruses, parasites, and bacteria, are believed to cause human illnesses. For six bacterial pathogens, the costs of human illness are estimated to be $9.3-$12.9 billion annually. Of these costs, $2.9-$6.7 billion are attributed to foodborne bacteria. These estimates were developed to provide analytical support for USDA's Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems rule for meat and poultry. (Note that the parasite Toxoplasma gondii is not included in this report.) To estimate medical costs and productivity losses, ERS uses four severity categories for acute illnesses: those who did not visit a physician, visited a physician, were hospitalized, or died prematurely. The lifetime consequences of chronic disease are included in the cost estimates for E. coli O157:H7 and fetal listeriosis.

  • Tracking Foodborne Pathogens from Farm to Table: Data Needs to Evaluate Control Options

    MP-1532, December 01, 1995

    The proceedings from the January 9-10, 1995 conference in Washington, DC, held by members of Regional Research Project NE-165, a group of more than 70 economists at land grant universities and government agencies conducting research on the food system. Topics covered include human foodborne disease, susceptibility, and food consumption data; tracking foodborne pathogen data from farm to retail; integrating data for risk management; and a policy roundtable concerning how food safety data and analysis can help in program and policy design.