Review of the Economics of Food Safety and Food Standards


The widespread and increasing incidence of food-borne diseases and the devastating social and economic impact and differences between scientific and consumer perceptions of food safety risks have brought food safety to the forefront of public health concerns. Policy-makers are increasingly challenged by new and emerging food-borne risks such as BSE and potentially genetically modified organisms, whilst seeking to improve the control of established risks, such as Salmonella. Additionally, there is a growing political pressure to support consumer confidence in the safety of the food supply.

Within this context, economic analysis can play a significant role in deciding amongst various policy alternatives associated with regulating the market for food safety. To that end, the project carries out a comprehensive and far-reaching literature review on the economics of food safety and food standards aiming to build a significant and extensive knowledge base of potential conceptual approaches and associated advantages and limitations, guiding values, current and emerging issues, and challenges associated with the economic analysis of regulatory controls, using an efficient and cost-effective approach.

Project funder: Food Standards Agency

Staff involved: Michael Bourlakis and Mary Brennan

Project timescale: June – September 2003