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Optimal levels of inputs to control Listeria monocytogenes contamination at a smoked fish plant


  • Loren W. Tauer

    (Department of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY)

  • Cameron Nightingale

    (Cargill Animal Nutrition, Minneapolis, MN)

  • Renata Ivanek

    (Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY)

  • Yrjö T. Gröhn

    (Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY)

  • Martin Wiedmann

    (Department of Food Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY)


Reducing the incidence of listeriosis from contaminated food has significant social health benefits, but reduction requires the use of additional or higher quality inputs at higher costs. The authors estimate the impact of three inputs in a food processing plant on the prevalence of Listeria monocytogenes contaminated finished cold smoked salmon. These three inputs were noncontamination of the raw fish fillets, noncontamination of the plant environment, and rate of glove changes on workers. We then estimate the minimum cost levels of these inputs to reach various levels of noncontamination of the finished product, tracing out a cost curve. Marginal cost is then equated to potential marginal benefits from reductions in L. monocytogenes contamination. Results show how socially suboptimal use of inputs may result because the costs of these inputs are borne by the food processing plant, which may not be able to secure a high enough product price. [Econlit Citations: D24, L66, M11, Q13] © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Agribusiness 23: 229-244, 2007.

Suggested Citation

  • Loren W. Tauer & Cameron Nightingale & Renata Ivanek & Yrjö T. Gröhn & Martin Wiedmann, 2007. "Optimal levels of inputs to control Listeria monocytogenes contamination at a smoked fish plant," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(2), pages 229-244.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:agribz:v:23:y:2007:i:2:p:229-244
    DOI: 10.1002/agr.20121

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Scott A. Malcolm & Clare A. Narrod & Tanya Roberts & Michael Ollinger, 2004. "Evaluating the economic effectiveness of pathogen reduction technologies in cattle slaughter plants," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(1), pages 109-123.
    2. Just, Richard E. & Pope, Rulon D., 1978. "Stochastic specification of production functions and economic implications," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 67-86, February.
    3. Jensen, Helen H. & Unnevehr, Laurian J. & Gómez, Miguel I., 1998. "Costs of Improving Food Safety in the Meat Sector," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 30(01), pages 83-94, July.
    4. Jensen, Helen H. & Unnevehr, Laurian J. & Gomez, Miguel I., 1998. "Costs of Improving Food Safety in the Meat Sector (The)," Staff General Research Papers Archive 1156, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    5. Kuchler, Fred & Golan, Elise H., 1999. "Assigning Values To Life: Comparing Methods For Valuing Health Risks," Agricultural Economics Reports 34037, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
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