Hysterisis in Food Safety Investments
Concerns regarding the safety and integrity of the fresh produce supply chain are becoming all too common in the media. In 2006, an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 from farms in Central California sickened almost two hundred people and lead to the deaths of three. Estimated costs to the industry ranged from $100 per month to $200 million until spinach sales returned to normal. By some accounts, the spinach industry has yet to recover and may not for years to come. The incident, however, has lead to a host of initiatives from industry officials, legislators and fresh produce retailers to ensure the safety of fresh produce. The necessary technology and best practices knowledge exists, yet some growers have not made the investment required to ensure that such outbreaks do not happen again in the future.
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