Agrifood Economics

The economics of food safety in developing countries

ESA Working Paper 03-19
Year: 2003
Author(s): Spencer Henson
This paper aims to provide an overview of issues associated with the economics of food safety in developing countries. It is intended to highlight the major questions and concerns associated with an economic analysis of food safety issues, both generally and specifically in a developing country context. Thus, it provides an overview of these issues and highlights key references for readers that wish to explore these issues in greater depth. The paper provides a basic over view of what is meant by food safety, highlighting the main hazards potentially associated with food. It assesses the burden imposed on developing countries, both in terms of rates of human morbidity and premature mortality and the economic and social costs imposed on developing societies. In so doing, the paucity of data on the magnitude of food-borne illness in developing countries is highlighted. The ways in which markets may fail to provide for an appropriate level of food safety, and thus the case for government regulation, are than discussed. Much of the remainder of the paper than explores the key elements of food safety capacity and analysis attempts by developing country governments to enhance their capacity in strategic areas in some depth. It concludes by suggesting positive ways forward through which the capacity of developing countries to manage food safety, both for the protection of their domestic populations and promotion of trade in agricultural and food products, can be enhanced.
Publication type: Working paper
JEL codes: I18, O19, Q17, Q1