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Factors Impacting Food Safety Risk Perceptions


  • Glynn T. Tonsor,

  • Ted C. Schroeder,

  • Joost M. E. Pennings

  • Glynn T. Tonsor is based in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Michigan State University. E-mail: for correspondence. Ted C. Schroeder is based in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University. Joost M. E. Pennings is based in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and is the AST Professor of Marketing & Decision Sciences at Wageningen University, The Netherlands. Funding support from the National Beef Industry Development Fund managed by CanFax Research Services is greatly appreciated. We also acknowledge helpful comments from the Editor and two anonymous reviewers. Any errors are the responsibility of the authors.


We developed and applied a model of consumer risk perceptions of beef food safety to better understand the underlying drivers of consumer demand for food safety. We show how consumer demographics, country-of-residence, as well as reliance on, and trust in, alternative food safety information sources affect risk perceptions of consumers in Canada, Japan and the United States. Consumers in all three countries have risk perceptions shaped by their level of reliance on observable and credence attribute information. Risk perceptions of consumers in each country are significantly higher for those less trusting of doctors. Moreover, personal and indirect food safety experiences substantially affect risk perceptions. These results are useful to decision-makers in developing more efficient supply chain management strategies and public policies aimed at building or sustaining consumer confidence in food safety.