Food safety is an inherently complex agribusiness problem. Food safety is a result of the collective efforts of various members of the food supply chain in which each member’s production, handling, processing and retailing practices jointly determine the safety of the consumed product. Although agency explanations have been offered as one potential solution to this research challenge, food safety also operates within a greater institutional setting. A theoretical framework that draws on an institutional approach is developed in which two sets of propositions are offered to explain the coordination and economic organization of food safety. Such a framework offers four contributions/ implications to organizational economic and food safety research.