This book examines the economic incentives for food safety in the private marketplace and how public actions have helped shape those incentives. Noted contributors analyze alternative public health protection efforts and the benefits and costs associated with these actions to understand:
why an excess of foodborne illness occurs
what policies have worked best
how regulations have evolved
what the path forward to better control of pathogens in the U.S. and the international food supply chain might look like
While the first third of the book builds an economic framework, the remaining chapters apply economics to specific food safety issues. Numerous chapters explore economic decision making within individual companies, revealing the trade-offs of the costs of food safety systems to comply with regulations, vs. non-compliance which carries costs of possible penalties, reputation damage, legal liability suits, and sales reduction. Pathogen control costs are examined in both the short run and long run.
The book's unique application of economic theory to food safety decision making in both the public and private sectors makes it a key resource for food safety professionals in academia, government, industry, and consumer groups around the world. In addition to Benefit/Cost Analysis and economic incentives, other economic concepts are applied to food safety supply chains, such as, principal-agent theory and the economics of information. Authors provide real world examples, from Farm-to-Fork, to showcase these economic concepts throughout the book.
Tanya Roberts has been involved in five Congressional reports and hearings, including testifying on the costs of foodborne illness and writing a benefit/cost analysis of food irradiation. She has been an invited speaker at UN conferences and meetings in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. While at the Economic Research Service in USDA, Dr. Roberts analyzed the private sector's innovations in response to the 1993 Jack in Box outbreak and led the slaughterhouse team in USDA's risk analysis of E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef. The interaction of the private sector with food safety public policy is Dr. Roberts main research interest, both nationally and internationally. Both in ERS and in the economics profession, Dr. Roberts has pioneered economic analysis of food safety policies.