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The Cost and Benefit of Listeria Monocytogenes Food Safety Measures

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Abstract

The objectives of this review were to evaluate economic techniques used to determine the cost and benefit of Listeria monocytogenes control and to estimate the economic optimum of L. monocytogenes food safety measures. The level of food safety measures is optimal if marginal benefit and marginal cost equate. Estimates of benefit and cost of L. monocytogenes food safety measures, from available published literature, are derived from different methods of economic analysis (willingness-to-pay, cost-of-illness, cost function, event study methods). The estimated annual benefit and cost of L. monocytogenes food safety measures ranged from $2.3 billion to $22 billion and from $0.01 billion to $2.4 billion, respectively. The estimated marginal benefit exceeds the estimated marginal cost, which implies that more food safety measures are warranted before the optimal level of L. monocytogenes food safety can be reached. However, due to considerable lack of data the optimal level of L. monocytogenes food safety measures could not be estimated. When better data become available, this study can serve as a template for estimating the optimal level of food safety. The understanding of the economic optimum of food safety level will contribute to designing a control program that is economical and acceptable for US society.

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WP 2003-32 October 2003

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2003-10

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Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University

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