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Food Safety

  • Finding

    Recent Estimates of the Cost of Foodborne Illness Are in General Agreement

    Recent studies by ERS, University of Florida, and Ohio State University researchers agree that Salmonella and Toxoplasma gondii are the first and second most costly foodborne pathogens in the United States in terms of medical care, lost time from work, and losses due to premature death.
  • Feature

    U.S. Food Safety Policy Enters a New Era

    ERS research conducted over the past two decades provides a number of lessons that can help identify efficient and effective means of implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010.
  • Feature

    Irradiation of Produce Imports: Small Inroads, Big Obstacles

    Irradiation is an alternative treatment for foodborne pests on imported fruit and vegetables, but it requires labeling and large investments in facilities and some consumers remain wary of the process.
  • Finding

    For Most Meat and Poultry Plants, Federally Mandated Controls Are Just the Starting Point for Food Safety

    Most U.S. meat and poultry processors go beyond the requirements of Government-mandated food-safety controls and supplement these controls with their own standards. But for some meat and poultry plants, mandated controls are the only food safety actions.
  • Finding

    Peanut Processing and Sales Hold Steady After Peanut-Product Recalls

    One of the largest food recalls in U.S. history occurred in early 2009 with the removal of thousands of food products containing peanut ingredients potentially contaminated with Salmonella. In the first 2 months after the recalls began in January 2009, consumers reduced purchases of peanut-containing products, but by April 2009, purchases exceeded the previous year’s levels.
  • Finding

    Broiler Producers Search for Alternatives to Antibiotics

    Broiler producers who do not administer subtherapeutic antibiotics rely instead on a portfolio of other practices to prevent disease and promote growth in birds. Operations of producers who do not use STAs are characterized by more rigorous sanitation practices, improved ventilation for poultry housing, and more extensive testing for pathogens than farms of STA users.
  • Finding

    Adulteration Accounts for Majority of FDA Food-Related Import Refusals

    ERS researchers analyzed Food and Drug Administration (FDA) data on food import shipments that were refused entry into the U.S. during 1998-2004. Of the 70,369 import violations in 1998-2004, 65 percent were for adulteration, 33 percent for misbranding, and 2 percent were other violations, such as items forbidden or restricted in sale. The three imported food categories with the most violations were vegetable products, seafood products, and fruit products.
  • Finding

    Lasting Influence of BSE on U.S. Protein Feed Markets

    An ERS study of a series of BSE/vCJD risk-reduction initiatives examines the cost of these policies, which have progressively limited the use of animal byproducts and rendered products by the cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and feed-manufacturing industries.
  • Finding

    ERS and Collaborators Model Foot-and-Mouth Disease Outbreaks

    ERS and university collaborators developed a simulation model to demonstrate the effects of mitigation strategies and impacts of export embargoes for beef, beef cattle, hogs, and pork. In the simulations, the swine and pork sectors recovered soon after export restrictions ended, but beef and cattle effects lingered due to the longer cattle production cycle. Production of all commodities returned to pre-disease levels in less than 2 years.
  • Finding

    Pest Problems Abroad May Affect Compliance With U.S. Safeguards

    Economically efficient treatment schedules to control Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly) infestations increase with the fraction of U.S. imports of fresh fruits and vegetables infested with medfly larvae. When medfly populations abroad are at or below average levels, the economic incentives of fruit and vegetable producers are consistent with U.S. treatment schedules. However, when medfly population levels abroad are exceptionally high, profits received by a representative foreign producer are maximized at a cold treatment level lower than the U.S.
  • Statistic

    Data Feature

    Increased trade helps meet U.S. consumers’ growing demand for a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables throughout the year. ERS calculates that the import share of domestic consumption of fruit and nuts has grown over the past 25 years from 10 to 35 percent for fruit and nuts and from 5 to 15 percent for vegetables. To reduce the risk of inadvertent entry of pests and diseases that could harm agriculture, public health, or the environment, imports of these products are regulated by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
  • Feature

    U.S. Consumers Had Short-Term Response to First BSE Announcements

    ERS researchers compared household-level retail food purchases of three types of beef products before and after the 2003 U.S. government announcements of finding two North American cows infected with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) to see if consumers reduced their purchases of those products, and, if so, for how long. Food purchase data reveal that the response of U.S. consumers to those announcements was limited and dissipated within 2 weeks.