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Who Is Most Responsible For Ensuring The Meat We Eat Is Safe?


  • Erdem, Seda
  • Rigby, Dan
  • Wossink, Ada


We report results of an analysis of the attribution of relative responsibility across the stages of the food chain for ensuring food safety. Specifically, we identify perceptions of the share of the overall responsibility that each stage in the food chain has to ensure that the meat people cook and eat at home does not cause them to become ill. Results are reported for two groups of stakeholders: consumers and farmers, and for two types of meat: chicken and beef. The stakeholders’ opinions regarding the relative degrees of responsibility of the sequential food chain stages (feed supplier, farmer, livestock transportation, abattoir,… consumer) are elicited via surveys using the Maximum Difference technique (best-worst scaling). The data are analyzed using mixed logit models estimated via Bayesian techniques. We find that consumers and farmers both tend to allocate a relatively low share of responsibility to their own food safety role. So, consumers tend to think farmers are more responsible for ensuring meat safety than farmers do. Similarly, farmers tend to think consumers have a greater degree of responsibility than consumers themselves believe. Thus, there is a consistent pattern of downplaying the extent of one’s own responsibility. Further, consumers tend to allocate the highest shares of responsibility to the middle stages of the meat food chain. This contrasts with farmers who tend to allocate the highest shares of responsibility to the latter stages of the chain towards consumers, believing that the earlier stages of the chain (until the livestock arrive at the abattoir) have a relatively low share of responsibility. The analysis is currently being extended to a third group of food chain actors: abattoir workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Erdem, Seda & Rigby, Dan & Wossink, Ada, 2010. "Who Is Most Responsible For Ensuring The Meat We Eat Is Safe?," 2010 Annual Meeting, July 25-27, 2010, Denver, Colorado 61642, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea10:61642
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.61642

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    Agricultural and Food Policy; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Institutional and Behavioral Economics; Research Methods/ Statistical Methods;

    JEL classification:

    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis


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