To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

The economics of food safety

Christopher Ritson (Professor of Agricultural Marketing and Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)
Li Wei Mai (Research Officer, Department of Agricultural Economics and Food Marketing, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Publication date: 1 October 1998


Discusses the financial implications of maintaining acceptable levels of food safety. The case of BSE is used as an example ‐ loss of export market, fall in domestic sales, changes in consumption, large expenditure, cost of practice changes in rearing and slaughtering animals. There is a trade‐off between safety and costs. How much safety can be expected? There must be an optimum level of safety. There are few ways in which a market economy can “fail” in providing the optimum ‐ asymmetry in knowledge of risks; aspects of food safety which are public goods; social costs of food safety and the divergence between objective scientific evidence and consumer perception.



Ritson, C. and Wei Mai, L. (1998), "The economics of food safety", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 98 No. 5, pp. 253-259.




Copyright © 1998, MCB UP Limited