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Food Safety



ERS food-safety research examines how markets, consumers, and regulators interact to provide safe food, analyzes the economic efficiency of these interactions, and informs public sector food-safety policies by addressing questions such as:

  • Do consumers’ food choices create sufficient incentives or are consumers’ demands for food safety unmet even though suppliers are able (physically and financially) to meet those demands?
  • Can food safety be marketed and, if so, how do sellers (all along the food supply chain) gain buyers’ trust that foods meet advertised safety margins? Is trust bought with third-party certification or made with contracts?
  • What would greater food safety cost at different points in the food supply chain?
  • Can public-sector intervention solve problems of unmet safety demands and, if so, at what cost?
  • Do regulatory actions—hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) requirements and enforcement applied to food manufacturers, school lunch contracts, pathogen testing from farm to retail, and consumer safe-food handling labels—increase economic incentives for food-safety innovation and adoption of better practices throughout the supply chain?

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For more information, contact: Fred Kuchler

Web administration: webadmin@ers.usda.gov

Updated date: August 5, 2009