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Valuation Methods for Reducing Foodborne Risks


Efforts to promote safer food benefit society by improving public health and well-being. This projects applies state-of-the art valuation methodologies to measure the benefits of improving food safety. This pilot study will estimate consumers' willingness to pay to reduce the risk of foodborne illness using two different methods, namely contingent valuation methods and recently developed market-based methods.<P> Two surveys will be administered to panels of consumers through the Internet. One survey (Part A) is a contingent valuation survey focusing on responses to different information about foodborne illness risk levels, severity, duration, and mortality rates. The second survey (Part B) uses a market-based method, measuring how consumers change food intake in response to risk information. The changes in consumption patterns and food expenditures of consumers receiving risk information will be used to derive the willingness to pay for reductions in foodborne illness risk.

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NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Researchers will use survey methods to estimate risk-dollar tradeoffs consumers make when selecting foods. <P> APPROACH: Cooperative agreements with Harvard University and the University of Wyoming support research which applies contingent valuation surveys and consumer retail behavior to quantify the willingness to pay for reductions in food safety risk. <P>
PROGRESS: 2000/10 TO 2007/12<br/>
By the end of 2005, both two consumer surveys were completed. To make results comparable, both surveys were conducted by Knowledge Networks, Inc. Principal investigators conducted analysis of survey results and published findings in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 2007.
IMPACT: 2000/10 TO 2007/12 <br/>
A Principal Paper session at the 2007 meeting of the American Agricultural Economics Association (Portland, OR, July 2007) highlighted findings of two papers. The Principal Paper session also included a paper by an ERS researcher who demonstrated the economic significance of the results. That latter work was also published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 2007, along with commentary by another academic economist.

Kuchler, Fred; Ralston, Katherine; Roberts, Tanya
USDA - Economic Research Service
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