Simulation-Based Approach to Evaluate the Effects of Food Supply Chain Mitigation and Compliance Strategies on Consumer Behavior and Risk Communication Methods

  • Jessye Talley
  • Lauren B. DavisEmail author
Part of the Women in Engineering and Science book series (WES)


The World Health Organization (WHO) states that globally 1 in 10 people will become ill every year from eating a contaminated food product, resulting in 420,000 deaths. Food contamination can occur through several points within the food supply chain, a result of the intentional or accidental presence of biological/chemical contaminants. This has led public health officials to track food borne illness and create various mitigation strategies.

According to the Food Safety Modernization Act, companies are now required to develop Food Defense Plans that incorporate vulnerability assessments and mitigation strategies. However, the most common risk mitigation strategy to reduce illness is a recall. A recall can fall within three main classes to denote severity of risk associated with certain products. However, these classes are unclear to most consumers and delay their response to a contamination event. Therefore, companies need better risk communication practices in order to have full information for consumers to comply effectively with messages. Thirteen percent of Americans use information given by various media sources to look for recalled food products in their home. A survey conducted by Rutgers Food Institute Policy highlighted the common information that consumers feel they need during a recall which were identifying information (1) about the food product, (2) the food product source, and (3) where the food product is sold.

This chapter presents an overview of food supply chain vulnerabilities and the relationship between risk mitigation strategies and consumer behavior with a focus on messaging. We also discuss several approaches to modeling food supply chain contamination events and the associated impacts on consumers that incorporate consumer behavior, messaging, and recalls. We specifically consider consumer purchasing, consumption, and compliance behavior as a function of various risk mitigation strategies implemented in the food supply chain. The goal is to understand the extent of the contamination event, frequency and timing of the messaging, and recall notifications that reduce foodborne illness.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Morgan State UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.North Carolina A&T UniversityGreensboroUSA

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