We utilize the outbreak surveillance data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to examine whether consumer demand is impacted by the outbreak of food-borne disease. An additional person sickened due to the ingestion of tainted cheese products at home is found to decrease per capita milk demand in New York State by 0.13 percent (or 0.07 pound), while milk and ice cream-borne disease outbreaks, occurring at home or in public places, are found to have no impact on fluid milk demand. Our results imply the existence of word-of-mouth effects, which cannot be tested by the popular information/media index approach used to measure food-borne disease outbreaks. We also find that a 7 percent increase in generic advertising expenditures or a 10 percent increase in expenditures on non-advertising marketing activities can offset the negative influence of one ill person in cheese-borne disease outbreaks at home, while holding other demand factors constant.


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