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Abstract

This study examines the tradeoffs consumers are willing to make relative to food safety attributes and other product attributes, such as quality and price, and develops implications for both the government and private sector firms. Conjoint analysis was used to elicit consumers' preferences for fresh Red Delicious apples. The attributes studied include price, product quality as depicted by the level of defects, a variable representing the level of pesticide usage and the associated cancer risk, and a variable representing different levels of government inspection. The results indicated that most consumers have a strong preference for increased food safety. Government policy options that are explored include stricter production standards, improved regulatory monitoring, and government-defined labels. Private industry options that are examined include grower labels, retailer labels, and third party labels.

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