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Ökologischer Betrieb
Ökologischer Betrieb
Institute of

BW Farm Economics


Economic assessment of food safety with regard to zoonoses

Zoonoses pose a threat to global food chains
© BfR
Zoonoses pose a threat to global food chains

What are the economic consequences of food crises and which costs are caused by measures to increase food safety?

Background and Objective

Zoonoses, which are infectious diseases that are transmissible between animals and humans, have become more important throughout the world in recent years. According to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), major reasons for this are population growth, increasing mobility and changes in animal breeding and husbandry. The research project “Zoonoses and food safety along global supply chains (ZooGloW)”, which is coordinated by BfR, deals with the potential hazards and safety aspects of zoonoses in the food supply chains for pork and poultry. In this project the Thünen Institute of Farm Economics is responsible for the economic assessment of food safety with regard to zoonoses. In the first part of the project the potential effects of a food crisis regarding possible adaptive responses of consumers are analysed. Afterwards possible cost-benefit effects of an increase in the food safety level will be investigated. A key aspect in this regard will be the analysis of the financial cost of an improved diagnosis of zoonotic agents in relevant meat products as well as of improved control and prevention measures. The last part of the project will focus on the analysis of possible costs of selected communication policy options for crisis management and prevention.


First of all potential effects of a food crisis regarding possible adaptive responses of consumers are identified. The dioxin crisis of 2011 will be analysed as an example, focusing on possible changes in the meat consumption patterns of the consumers.
Furthermore possible costs and benefits of selected prevention measures regarding zoonotic agents in pig and poultry meat products will be identified.
The last part of the project will focus on the role of communication policy options with regard to food crises.

Data and Methods

In order to identify potential changes in the demand for meat products during the dioxin crisis the analysis is based on the GfK Frische Panel dataset on food purchases of German households. This dataset consists of weekly data on purchases of various pig, poultry and beef products. In addition the food purchase information is directly linked to socio-demographic information about the households and a wide variety of distribution channels is differentiated. Possible substitution effects in the purchasing behaviour of the households, as well as the impact of the socio-demographic variables, are analysed using econometric methods. Furthermore the potential influence of the media on the consumer demand behaviour during the dioxin crisis is identified.
Correspondent cost-benefit analysis methods will be used for the evaluation of potential prevention measures regarding zoonotic agents in meat products.
For the analysis of relevant communication policy options expert interviews with appropriate actors will be conducted.


10.2013 - 12.2016

More Information

Project status: finished

Publications to the project

  1. 0

    Rieger J, Weible D, Anders S (2017) "Why some consumers don't care": heterogeneity in household responses to a food scandal. Appetite 113:200-214, DOI:10.1016/j.appet.2017.02.038

  2. 1

    Rieger J, Weible D (2017) Analyse der Nachfragereaktionen auf den Dioxinskandal: Sind die Medien oder letztendlich Konsumgewohnheiten entscheidend? Schr Gesellsch Wirtsch Sozialwiss Landbaues 52:113-134

  3. 2

    Rieger J, Hansen H (2017) Zoonosen und Lebensmittelsicherheit entlang globaler Warenketten (ZooGloW) : Teilvorhaben: Ökonomische Bewertung von Lebensmittelsicherheit im Hinblick auf Zoonosen ; Abschlussbericht. Braunschweig: Thünen-Institut für Betriebswirtschaft, 54 p

  4. 3

    Rieger J, Kuhlgatz C, Anders S (2016) Food scandals, media attention and habit persistence among desensitised meat consumers. Food Policy 64:82-92, DOI:10.1016/j.foodpol.2016.09.005

  5. 4

    Rieger J, Kuhlgatz C (2015) Analyzing consumer demand during food scandal: the case of dioxin contaminated feed in Germany and the media : 29th International Conference of Agricultural Economists ; Milano, Italy, 8.8.-14.8.2015 [online]. Milano: IAAE, 31 p, zu finden in <> [zitiert am 02.10.2015]

  6. 5

    Rieger J, Weible D (2015) Changes in consumers' meat demand during the Dioxin scandal in Germany: the role of the media and consumer attitudes. Jb Österr Gesellsch Agrarökon J Austrian Soc Agric Econ 25:87-96

  7. 6

    Efken J, Krug O, Rieger J (2015) Der Markt für Fleisch und Fleischprodukte [online]. German J Agric Econ 64(Supplement):31-48, zu finden in <> [zitiert am 02.03.2015]

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