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Food safety issues often arise from problems of asymmetric information between consumers and suppliers with regards to product-specific attributes. Severe food safety scandals were observed recently in China that not only caused direct economic and life loss but also created distrust in the Chinese food system domestically as well as internationally. While much attention has focused on the problems plaguing the Chinese government’s food inspection system, little research has been dedicated to analyze consumers’ concerns over food safety. In this paper we measure consumer preferences for select food safety attributes in pork and take their food safety risk perceptions into account. Several choice experiment models, including latent class and random parameters logit, are constructed to capture heterogeneity in consumer preferences. A statistical sample of 6,720 observations is obtained from a choice experiment administered in seven major Chinese metropolitan cities. Our results suggest that Chinese consumers have the highest willingness-to-pay for a government certification program, followed by a traceability system, third party certification and a product-specific information label. The results of this study call upon the direct involvement of the Chinese government in the food safety system. A more strict monitoring system will not only improve consumer welfare in the short-run but also restore consumers’ trust leading to a social welfare increase in the long run.


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