Offsetting Behavior and the Benefits of Food Safety Policies

The net effect of food policies, viewed in terms of reduction of foodborne illness, death and food related diseases from obesity, may sometimes be much smaller than the predicted effect because of failure to account for offsetting behavior (OB). Theoretical and empirical models are developed and tested to determine the presence of dominant or partial OB in food safety policies. Results reveal that information that affects outrage and other determinants of risk perception will cause consumers to relax their vigilance in response to the food safety policy. This behavioral anomaly indicates a serious deviation from rational choice and may help explain the growing gap between the decrease in pathogen levels recorded after hazard analysis of critical control points implementation in meat processing plants and the number of outbreaks of food poisoning cases caused by foodborne pathogens.

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Agribusiness & Applied Economics Report No. 616

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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