A focus group study with 37 residents of Manhattan, Kansas, was conducted to examine consumers' risk perceptions of foodborne illnesses from eating beef. The four focus-group sessions were designed to determine (1) relative preferences for alternative combinations of public food safety measures (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points [HACCP], carcass pasteurization, irradiation) and private protection (home preparation of rare, medium, and well-done hamburgers); (2) how who is at risk (children vs. adults) influences preferences; (3) whether consumers would pay a premium for increased product safety arising from the adoption of three different innovations in processing plants; and (4) how to improve risk communication about foodborne illnesses and protection against them. Although participants seemed aware of many food safety practices, misinformation and misconceptions also were found. The majority of the participants preferred hamburgers that were well-done and steam pasteurized or medium and irradiated. For a 5-year-old child, the majority chose hamburgers that were well-done, and steam-pasteurized or well-done and irradiated. Concerning willingness to pay, the majority of participants preferred steam-pasteurized ground beef to regular ground beef when the two were priced the same. Results indicated that new technologies available for food safety interventions provided marginal value to participants. Participants also expressed a need for more information.


Agribusiness | Agricultural and Resource Economics | Business

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Reprinted with permission from Food Protection Trends.



URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/agb_fac/108