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Mandatory Food Recalls

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  • Thomsen, Michael R.
  • Ollinger, Michael
  • Crandall, Philip G.
  • O'Bryan, Corliss

Abstract

Food recalls are important for two reasons. One is that they mitigate harm when product failures occur. Another is that they augment incentives to invest in safety. When recalls are justified for their mitigation value, it makes sense that regulatory bodies be granted more control of the recall process in order to improve the manner in which recalls are conducted. Such is the stated intent of most proposals for changing the food recall system. However, we show that recalls can be justified by their incentive effect alone. In fact, recalls can be beneficial even when the social value of the harm they mitigate is so small as to be less than the costs of carrying them out. In these cases, it is important that proposals designed to improve the recall process avoid unintended side effects. First, proposals should avoid redirecting regulatory resources towards recall oversight and away from other, more pressing, food safety priorities. Second, it is important to avoid creating an environment in which agencies face a greater need to justify their recall requests. When the mitigation value of recalls is small, this may inadvertently prevent the initiation of recalls that could otherwise play a positive role in aligning incentives for safety.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association) in its series 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida with number 6083.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea08:6083

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Keywords: Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety;

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  1. Marino, Anthony M, 1997. "A Model of Product Recalls with Asymmetric Information," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 245-65, November.
  2. Lusk, Jayson L. & Schroeder, Ted C., 2000. "Effects Of Meat Recalls On Futures Market Prices," 2000 Conference, April 17-18 2000, Chicago, Illinois 18925, NCR-134 Conference on Applied Commodity Price Analysis, Forecasting, and Market Risk Management.
  3. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2000. "On the Joint Use of Liability and Safety Regulation," MPRA Paper 12536, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Dranove, David & Olsen, Chris, 1994. "The Economic Side Effects of Dangerous Drug Announcements," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(2), pages 323-48, October.
  5. Hooker, Neal H. & Teratanavat, Ratapol P. & Salin, Victoria, 2005. "Crisis management effectiveness indicators for US meat and poultry recalls," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 63-80, February.
  6. Gregg A. Jarrell & Sam Peltzman, 1984. "The Impact of Product Recalls on the Wealth of Sellers," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 33, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  7. Michael R. Thomsen & Andrew M. McKenzie, 2001. "Market Incentives for Safe Foods: An Examination of Shareholder Losses from Meat and Poultry Recalls," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(3), pages 526-538.
  8. Frenzen, Paul D. & Buzby, Jean C. & Rasco, Barbara, 2001. "Product Liability And Microbial Foodborne Illness," Agricultural Economics Reports 34059, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  9. Michael R. Thomsen & Rimma Shiptsova & Sandra J. Hamm, 2006. "Sales Responses to Recalls for Listeria monocytogenes: Evidence from Branded Ready-to-Eat Meats," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 28(4), pages 482-493.
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