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Abstract

Since the discovery of the first BSE case in North America in 2003, food safety has become a major issue to policymakers and consumers alike. In both Canada and the US, governments and industry have responded with a variety of quality assurance, traceability and labeling schemes. However, there is little information available on the extent to which consumer perceptions differ regionally across North America towards labeling schemes. This paper attempts to fill this gap, by providing results on a variety of beef labeling strategies from choice experiments that were conducted in Alberta (Canada) and Montana (US). The analysis focuses on consumers' perceptions towards negative voluntary labeling with regard to BSE testing, genetically modified organisms (GMO) and the use of growth hormones in beef production. We find that four years after the first BSE case emerged in North America, consumers are willing to pay most to avoid risks associated with BSE. US and Canadian consumers are found not to be significantly heterogeneous in their preferences.

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