Regulatory Oversight and the Food Safety of Ground Beef in the National School Lunch Program
This paper examines the impact of food safety standards imposed on suppliers of ground beef to the National School Lunch Program by the Agricultural Marketing Service. Probit regression results show that plants approved by AMS that bid on contracts to supply the NSLP had a higher level of food safety performance than both plants approved by AMS but not bidding on NSLP contracts and other plants regulated by the Food Safety Inspection Service. Plants approved to bid on NSLP contracts but not bidding on contracts had a lower level of food safety performance than both other types of plants. Results after 2009 suggest that differences in food safety performance may have narrowed. The paper also provides some evidence of strategic behavior by plant managers in which they use information about their plant’s food safety performance to decide whether to bid on a contract to supply the NSLP.
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