© 2018

Food Safety Economics

Incentives for a Safer Food Supply

  • Tanya Roberts

Part of the Food Microbiology and Food Safety book series (FMFS)

Also part of the Practical Approaches book sub series (PRACT)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Food Safety Economic Incentives in Regulations and in the Private Sector

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Diogo M. Souza Monteiro, Tanya Roberts, Walter J. Armbruster, Derrick Jones
      Pages 3-12
    3. Tanya Roberts, Robert L. Scharff
      Pages 13-28
  3. Economics of Foodborne Illness Metrics: When to Use What

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 81-81
    2. Brecht Devleesschauwer, Robert L. Scharff, Barbara B. Kowalcyk, Arie H. Havelaar
      Pages 83-106
    3. Brecht Devleesschauwer, Juanita A. Haagsma, Marie-Josée J. Mangen, Robin J. Lake, Arie H. Havelaar
      Pages 107-122
    4. Barbara B. Kowalcyk, Sara M. Pires, Elaine Scallan, Archana Lamichhane, Arie H. Havelaar, Brecht Devleesschauwer
      Pages 143-174
  4. Case Studies in Applied Food Safety Economics

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 175-175
    2. Peter van der Logt, Sharon Wagener, Gail Duncan, Judi Lee, Donald Campbell, Roger Cook et al.
      Pages 209-230
    3. Robert L. Scharff, Craig Hedberg
      Pages 251-265
    4. Walter J. Armbruster, Tanya Roberts
      Pages 293-322

About this book


This book examines the economic incentives for food safety in the private marketplace and how public actions have helped shape those incentives. Noted contributors analyze alternative public health protection efforts and the benefits and costs associated with these actions to understand:
  • why an excess of foodborne illness occurs
  • what policies have worked best
  • how regulations have evolved
  • what the path forward to better control of pathogens in the U.S. and the international food supply chain might look like

While the first third of the book builds an economic framework, the remaining chapters apply economics to specific food safety issues. Numerous chapters explore economic decision making within individual companies, revealing the trade-offs of the costs of food safety systems to comply with regulations, vs. non-compliance which carries costs of possible penalties, reputation dam
age, legal liability suits, and sales reduction. Pathogen control costs are examined in both the short run and long run.  

The book's unique application of economic theory to food safety decision making in both the public and private sectors makes it a key resource for food safety professionals in academia, government, industry, and consumer groups around the world.  In addition to Benefit/Cost Analysis and economic incentives, other economic concepts are applied to food safety supply chains, such as, principal-agent theory and the economics of information.  Authors provide real world examples, from Farm-to-Fork, to showcase these economic concepts throughout the book.


economics of information food safety cost of illness public health policy benefit/cost analysis

Editors and affiliations

  • Tanya Roberts
    • 1
  1. 1.Economic Research Service, USDA (retired)Center for Foodborne Illness Research and PreventionVashonUSA

About the editors

Tanya Roberts has been involved in five Congressional reports and hearings, including testifying on the costs of foodborne illness and writing a benefit/cost analysis of food irradiation.   She has been an invited speaker at UN conferences and meetings in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.  While at the Economic Research Service in USDA, Dr. Roberts analyzed the private sector’s innovations in response to the 1993 Jack in Box outbreak and led the slaughterhouse team in USDA’s risk analysis of E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef.  The interaction of the private sector with food safety public policy is Dr. Roberts main research interest, both nationally and internationally.  Both in ERS and in the economics profession, Dr. Roberts has pioneered economic analysis of food safety policies.

Bibliographic information

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