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Concerns about food safety and environmental quality have increased in recent years. Consumers are particularly concerned about the health risks posed by pesticide residues in food and the environmental impact of agricultural chemicals. These concerns have stimulated a considerable amount of recent research to assess the effects of reduced agricultural chemical use. This paper focuses on the research in the United States which has examined the impact of reduced agricultural chemical use on food, including food prices, consumer acceptance, food quality, and food demand and consumption. This review is divided into three major sections. The first gives an overview of consumer concerns and behavior, using the results of the annual Food Marketing Institute survey of grocery shoppers. The second summarizes two "macro" studies that simulated the impact of reduces chemical use on agriculture in the United States. The third section reviews a number of "micro" studies that analyzed consumer willingness to pay for reduced pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables. These studies primarily rely on either hedonic price models and existing organic food or contingent valuation techniques and consumer surveys of various alternatives not currently available. This paper concludes with a few thoughts that will hopefully add some perspective to the public policy assessment of this issue.


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