Markets, Regulation, and Policy

USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) provides economic analyses of issues that affect the safety of the U.S. food supply. USDA is responsible for regulating meat and poultry, processed egg products, and catfish, whereas the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees food safety for fresh eggs and almost all other foods.

USDA, ERS examines how private markets and government regulation interact to help ensure the safety of the U.S. food supply. This research covers several key areas:

  • Private market mechanisms that affect food safety;
  • The impact of new or changing federal regulation on food safety;
  • Regulation of food handling and processing practices (for example, meat and poultry slaughter, produce packing and shipping);
  • Technology innovation to enhance food safety; and
  • Food safety and trade (imports and exports).

USDA, ERS examines industry response to foodborne disease outbreaks, the impact of recalls on product demand and processor behavior, and the effectiveness of litigation in compensating victims of foodborne illness. USDA, ERS also examines market mechanisms, such as contracts or alliances, that commercial buyers develop to encourage better food safety performance, the impact of government regulation on the food safety performance of meat and produce establishments, and the characteristics of food producers that encourage food safety. USDA, ERS also evaluates the interplay of regulation and marketing incentives in promoting food safety, the impact of specific foodborne illness outbreaks, and labeling and traceability issues.

USDA, ERS analyzes global food safety issues and maintains a set of data on phytosanitary regulation of U.S. fresh fruit and vegetable imports. Globalization of the food supply means new food-safety risks in which contaminated food can be spread across more geographic areas, and previously controlled food safety risks in one country may be introduced into other countries. Concern about food-safety may affect demand for certain products, limit market access for some exporters, alter domestic production, and influence international food trade patterns.

Users may also be interested in Food Safety: Consumers.