The Impact of the E.coli Spinach Outbreak on Acreage Decisions Under Uncertainty

This article quantifies the effect of the 2006 food-borne illness spinach outbreak on harvested acreage for the fresh spinach market. In September 2006, fresh spinach contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 caused hundreds of consumer illnesses across the U.S. and a few deaths. The outbreak was detrimental to the spinach industry causing a significant decrease in the demand for spinach. Spinach growers were prohibited from harvesting spinach until more was known about the contamination. According to the Census of Agriculture, harvested spinach acreage for the fresh market fell by 17% from before the outbreak. Due to the unanticipated effects resulting from the outbreak, farms potentially decreased their acreage of fresh market spinach to reduce profit uncertainty caused by the probability of a future outbreak. Alternatively, farms may have increased the acreage of a less risky commodity in order to provide a method to remove potential contamination.

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Q11; Q18
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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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