USDA Case Study: Consumers Seem to Recognize the Most Dangerous Outbreaks

August 28, 2015

A report released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that consumers respond to foodborne illness outbreaks differently depending on the severity.

The case study, produced by Fred Kuchler, Ph.D., an economist with USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), compared warnings about cantaloupes issued in 2011 and again in 2012.

The first recall was due to Listeria monocytogenes and the second was from two Salmonella serotypes. Listeria is a more deadly pathogen than Salmonella, and Kuchler found that consumers responded more strongly to the 2011 recall, suggesting that they make some distinctions among pathogens and health risks.

That 2011 Listeria outbreak, associated with…