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Product Liability And Microbial Foodborne Illness

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

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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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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  1. Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 1994. "Product Safety: Liability, R&D and Signaling," Game Theory and Information 9403007, EconWPA, revised 30 Mar 1994.
  2. repec:jaa:jagape:v:30:y:1998:i:1:p:69-82 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Patricia M. Danzon, 1991. "Liability for Medical Malpractice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 51-69, Summer.
  4. 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.
  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. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. W. Kip Viscusi, 1996. "Economic Foundations of the Current Regulatory Reform Efforts," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 119-134, Summer.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  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. & 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
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