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Slaughterhouse Rules: Animal Uniformity and Regulating for Food Safety in Meat Packing

  • Hennessy, David A.

Meat retailers express demand for a more uniform product, and technical innovations are allowing an increasingly uniform supply. Packers can promote uniformity through pre-slaughter sorting, or earlier through contracts. Emphasizing effort on the packing line, we develop a model whereby packers gain from carcass handling efficiencies when animal uniformity increases. Whether optimally regulated or not, equilibrium food safety declines with increased uniformity. A line speed regulation can increase welfare in the presence of food safety externalities by reducing the opportunity cost of allocating effort toward promoting food safety. The regulation also reduces packer demand for more uniform animals.

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File URL: http://www.econ.iastate.edu/sites/default/files/publications/papers/paper_10839.pdf
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Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 10839.

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Date of creation: 29 Oct 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in American Journal of Agricultural Economics, August 2005, vol. 87 no. 3, pp. 600-609
Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:10839
Contact details of provider: Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.edu
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  1. Hennessy, David A. & Miranowski, John & Babcock, Bruce A., 2003. "Genetic Information in Agricultural Productivity and Product Development," Staff General Research Papers 10340, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  2. Robert Innes, 1999. "Self-Policing and Optimal Law Enforcement When Violator Remediation is Valuable," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1305-1325, December.
  3. Bennett, Richard & Blaney, Ralph, 2002. "Social consensus, moral intensity and willingness to pay to address a farm animal welfare issue," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 501-520, August.
  4. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, . "The LeChatelier Principle," Working Papers 95007, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  5. James Mintert & Jayson Lusk & John Fox & Mohammad Koohmaraie & Ted Schroeder, 2001. "In-store valuation of steak tenderness," Framed Field Experiments 00186, The Field Experiments Website.
  6. Milgrom, P. & Shannon, C., 1991. "Monotone Comparative Statics," Papers 11, Stanford - Institute for Thoretical Economics.
  7. Boehlje, Michael, 1996. "Industrialization of Agriculture: What are the Implications?," Choices, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 11(1).
  8. Garen, John, 1988. "Compensating Wage Differentials and the Endogeneity of Job Riskiness," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(1), pages 9-16, February.
  9. Boland, Philip J. & Proschan, Frank, 1988. "Multivariate arrangement increasing functions with applications in probability and statistics," Journal of Multivariate Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 286-298, May.
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