Measuring the Benefit of Reducing Food-Borne Illness: Valuing Symptoms Rather than Pathogens

Title: Measuring the Benefit of Reducing Food-Borne Illness: Valuing Symptoms Rather than Pathogens
Authors: Ahmed, Sayid
Date: 2014-05-15
Abstract: The food safety issue is becoming an important public health burden and food safety agencies are spending millions of dollar to deter cases of food-borne illness. Such programs come with costs; therefore this paper focuses on an important component that assesses how much consumers are willing to pay for programs that aim to improve food safety standards. The purpose of the paper is twofold. First, it discusses and evaluates all existing valuation techniques applied to food safety. The second goal of the paper challenges researchers by proposing an alternative approach that values the symptoms rather than pathogens. The paper finds that cost of illness (COI) is the most commonly used valuation method, followed by the contingent valuation method while only a handful of studies utilize either experimental market auction or willingness to pay’s (WTP) revealed preference techniques. COI suffers in terms of theory and practice. Other studies using contingent valuation, experimental market auctions and averting behavior are limited to few food risks and small population samples, which makes their results localized, and extrapolating to all food-borne illness and all population is problematic. The proposed approach paves the way for better elicitation of individual WTP to avoid all food risk by valuing from symptoms’ point of view. The approach also side-steps the issue of valuation of morbidity risks and eliminates the concerns of using incomplete measures of benefits in cost-benefit analysis when evaluating the efficacy of food safety programs.
CollectionScience économique - Mémoires // Economics - Research Papers