Household-level Canadian scanner data from 2002 – 2005 were used to identify consumer reactions to the early BSE discoveries that severely impacted Canada’s beef industry. In all provinces, consumers reacted to the initial BSE event by purchasing more beef, apparently to support struggling ranchers. Subsequent BSE events, however, met with reduced beef purchases. The results were consistent across three measures of monthly beef purchases: participation, units purchased, and beef expenditure share. Failing to account for the context of individual BSE events would have produced little evidence of consumer reaction, a common finding among prior North American BSE studies.


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