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Product Liability And Microbial Foodborne Illness

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Author Info

  • Frenzen, Paul D.
  • Buzby, Jean C.
  • Rasco, Barbara

Abstract

This report examines how product liability law treats personal injuries attributed to microbially contaminated foods. The risk of lawsuits stemming from microbial foodborne illness and the resulting court-awarded compensation may create economic incentives for firms to produce safer food. It is not known how many consumers seek compensation for damages from contaminated foods because information about complaints and legal claims involving foodborne illness is not readily accessible, especially for cases that are settled out of court. Reviewing the outcomes of 175 jury trials involving foodborne pathogens, the analysis identifies several factors that influence trial outcomes, while noting that the awards won by plaintiffs tend to be modest.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/34059
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service in its series Agricultural Economics Reports with number 34059.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Handle: RePEc:ags:uerser:34059

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Related research

Keywords: foodborne illness; food safety; jury verdict; personal injury; product liability; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety;

References

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  1. Low, Stuart & Smith, Janet Kiholm, 1995. "Decisions to Retain Attorneys and File Lawsuits: An Examination of the Comparative Negligence Rule in Accident Law," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 535-57, June.
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  3. repec:jaa:jagape:v:30:y:1998:i:1:p:69-82 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Polinsky, A Mitchell, 1980. "Strict Liability vs. Negligence in a Market Setting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(2), pages 363-67, May.
  5. Litan, Robert E, 1991. "The Safety and Innovation Effects of U.S. Liability Law: The Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 59-64, May.
  6. Buzby, Jean C. & Roberts, Tanya & Lin, Chung-Tung Jordan & MacDonald, James M., 1996. "Bacterial Foodborne Disease: Medical Costs and Productivity Losses," Agricultural Economics Reports 33991, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  7. Kolstad, Charles D & Ulen, Thomas S & Johnson, Gary V, 1990. "Ex Post Liability for Harm vs. Ex Ante Safety Regulation: Substitutes or Complements?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 888-901, September.
  8. Julie A. Caswell & Neal H. Hooker, 1996. "HACCP as an International Trade Standard," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 78(3), pages 775-779.
  9. Daughety, Andrew & Reinganum, Jennifer, 1992. "Product Safety: Liability, R & D and Signaling," Working Papers 94-17, University of Iowa, Department of Economics, revised 1994.
  10. Danzon, Patricia M., 2000. "Liability for medical malpractice," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 26, pages 1339-1404 Elsevier.
  11. Tabarrok, Alexander & Helland, Eric, 1999. "Court Politics: The Political Economy of Tort Awards," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 157-88, April.
  12. Buzby, Jean C. & Fox, John A. & Ready, Richard C. & Crutchfield, Stephen R., 1998. "Measuring Consumer Benefits Of Food Safety Risk Reductions," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 30(01), July.
  13. Posner, Richard A, 1997. "Explaining the Variance in the Number of Tort Suits across U.S. States and between the United States and England," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 477-89, June.
  14. Golan, Elise H. & Ralston, Katherine L. & Frenzen, Paul D., 1998. "A Distributional Analysis Of The Costs Of Foodborne Illness: Who Ultimately Pays?," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 30(01), July.
  15. Viscusi, W Kip, 1993. "The Value of Risks to Life and Health," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 1912-46, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Buzby, Jean C. & Mitchell, Lorraine, 2006. "Private, National, and International Food-Safety Standards," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 37(01), March.
  2. Bailey, DeeVon, 2007. "Political Economy of the U.S. Cattle and Beef Industry: Innovation Adoption and Implications for the Future," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 32(03), December.
  3. Just, David R. & Wansink, Brian & Turvey, Calum G., 2009. "Biosecurity, Terrorism, and Food Consumption Behavior: Using Experimental Psychology to Analyze Choices Involving Fear," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 34(1), April.
  4. Steiner, Bodo, 2006. "Governance Reform of German food safety regulation: Cosmetic or real?," MPRA Paper 26252, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Goldsmith, Peter D. & Turan, Nesve A. & Gow, Hamish R., 2004. "Firms, Incentives, And The Supply Of Food Safety: A Formal Model Of Government Enforcement," 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO 20343, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  6. Ollinger, Michael & Mueller, Valerie, 2003. "Managing For Safer Food: The Economics Of Sanitation And Process Controls In Meat And Poultry Plants," Agricultural Economics Reports 33975, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  7. Pouliot, Sebastien & Sumner, Daniel A., 2006. "Traceability, Liability and Incentives for Food Safety and Quality," 2006 Annual meeting, July 23-26, Long Beach, CA 21121, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  8. Ratapol Teratanavat & Victoria Salin & Neal H. Hooker, 2005. "Recall event timing: Measures of managerial performance in U.S. meat and poultry plants," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(3), pages 351-373.
  9. Brown, Jennifer & Cranfield, John A.L. & Henson, Spencer J., 2003. "Misassessed Risk In Consumer Valuation Of Food Safety: An Experimental Approach," 2003 Annual meeting, July 27-30, Montreal, Canada 22194, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  10. Jayasinghe-Mudalige, Udith K. & Henson, Spencer J., 2004. "Quantifying The Impact Of Economic Incentives On Firms' Food Safety Responsiveness: The Case Of Red Meat And Poultry Processing Sector In Canada," 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO 20419, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  11. Turvey, Calum G. & Onyango, Benjamin M. & Hallman, William K. & Condry, Sarah C., 2007. "Consumers' Perception of Food-System Vulnerability to an Agroterrorist Attack," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 38(3), November.
  12. Loureiro, Maria L., 2008. "Liability and food safety provision: Empirical evidence from the US," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 204-211, September.
  13. Lutter, Randall & Mader, Elizabeth A., 2001. "Litigating Lead-Based Paint Hazards: Is It a Solution?," Working paper 71, Regulation2point0.
  14. Henson, Spencer J. & Hooker, Neal H., 2001. "Private Sector Management Of Food Safety: Public Regulation And The Role Of Private Controls," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IAMA), vol. 4(01).
  15. Ragona, Maddalena & Mazzocchi, Mario, 2008. "Measuring the Impacts of Food Safety Regulations: A Methodological Review," 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium 43864, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  16. Starbird, S. Andrew & Amanor-Boadu, Vincent & Roberts, Tanya, 2008. "Traceability, Moral Hazard, and Food Safety," 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium 43840, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  17. Starbird, S. Andrew & Amanor-Boadu, Vincent, 2004. "Traceability, Inspection, And Food Safety," 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO 20381, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  18. Thomsen, Michael R. & Ollinger, Michael & Crandall, Philip G. & O'Bryan, Corliss, 2008. "Mandatory Food Recalls," 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida 6083, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).

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