The research will conduct an extensive literature search of both published material and latest conference papers. The research will first focus on the theory behind benefit estimation and will discuss the different methods used. The use and reliability of benefit transfer will then be addressed. Finally, the research will summarise the literature search of benefit estimation studies.
One of the main objectives of the Agency, as set out in the Food Standards Act, is to protect the safety of food. It is therefore important for the Agency to gain an overview of the information that is available for estimating the benefits associated with policies to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. This research aim is fully consistent with 'putting the consumer first' as it can provide a better understanding of how consumers would prioritise policy areas. Priorities can be set more consistently if the benefits of reducing risks in different policy areas can be measured and compared to the costs of introducing the policies. The results of the review will give the Agency a better understanding of this literature and of the gaps that would need to be addressed in future.
One important question that will be addressed by the research is whether benefits that were estimated in a non-food context can be applied in the food context. This is called benefit transfer and is important, as few benefit estimation studies have so far been carried out in the food context. Research in transport has estimated the benefits of reducing the risk of fatal road accidents. This estimate can then be compared to the cost of a new scheme to improve road transport. The question for the Agency is whether this figure can be used in the context of a policy which aims to reduce the fatal risk of foodborne illness.
Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="http://www.food.gov.uk/science/research/" target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.