Household-level Canadian meat purchases from 2002-2008 and the Food Opinion Survey conducted in 2008 were used to explore consumer responses to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) at the national level in Canada. Three measures of beef purchased were used to understand consumers‟ reaction under food risk. A random effects Logit model was applied to test whether any beef was purchased during a given month. Consumption in terms of unit purchases was measured with a random effects Negative Binomial model and consumption in terms of beef expenditure was measured with a standard random effects model. In this study, household heterogeneity in actual meat purchases was partially explained using data from a self-reported food opinions survey. Of special interest was the hypothesis that consumers responded consistently to BSE in a one-time survey and in actual meat purchase behavior spanning years. Regional differences appeared in the study, with consumers in eastern Canada reacting most negatively to BSE. Consumers were less likely to reduce beef purchases during BSE events when they believed food system decision makers were honest, as opposed to knowledgeable, about food safety.


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