HACCP in Pork Processing: Costs and Benefits

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1999-09-01
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Unnevehr, Laurian
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Jensen, Helen
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Center for Agricultural and Rural Development

The Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) conducts innovative public policy and economic research on agricultural, environmental, and food issues. CARD uniquely combines academic excellence with engagement and anticipatory thinking to inform and benefit society.

CARD researchers develop and apply economic theory, quantitative methods, and interdisciplinary approaches to create relevant knowledge. Communication efforts target state and federal policymakers; the research community; agricultural, food, and environmental groups; individual decision-makers; and international audiences.

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To help pork processing firms evaluate the costs of pathogen-reducing interventions, Jensen and Unnevehr explore the various trade-offs associated with multiple pathogen reduction targets. They find that the costs of individual pathogen reduction technologies range from $0.03 to $0.20 per carcass for hogs, and the costs of optimal combinations of technologies may be as high a $0.47 per carcass. While these estimates represent less than 2 percent of packing costs, they are still considerably larger than initial FSIS estimates of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point systems (HACCP) costs to industry. Jensen and Unnevehr note, however, that improvements in food safety may be achieved through relatively modest investments in large plants.

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