Theory and case studies are used to identify and analyze the private incentives for improving the safety of food in America. Case studies include innovations the industry has developed and is using to produce safer beef, including new equipment, new testing, and new management systems. Data will be collected and analyzed through interviews with firms to determine the most significant factors contributing to the innovation and identify the nature and magnitude of the economic incentives. The expanding role of the international marketplace and its impact on US food safety innovations will be discussed. The nature of the reserach, economic and contractual relationships among firms in the meat, equipment, microbial testing, and restaurant industries will be explored. The role of consumer acceptance of products and regulatory guidance and approval will also be analyzed for their impact on economic incentives to invest in and develop the innovations.
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Food safety is not easily purchased in the marketplace. Rather it is an unknown product attribute to most purchasers. This research examines how to improve food safety performance. Case studies of successful innovations for food safety are studied to determine the economic incentives that brought about the innovations. <P>
APPROACH: In a literature review, we will apply economic theory to analyze how missing or assymetric information about foodborne pathogens is likely to alter the market for food. Case studies, based on interviews with firms and review of websites and published literature, will examine the scope and uniqueness of the innovation, its success, and the source of the economic incentives for innovation of new processes and equipment to control pathogens.