A Duration Analysis of Food Safety Recall Events in the United States: January, 2000 to October, 2009
Joy, Nathaniel Allen
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The safety of the food supply in the United States has become an issue of prominence in the minds of ordinary Americans. Several government agencies, including the United States Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, are charged with the responsibility of preserving the safety of the food supply. Food is withdrawn from the market in a product recall when tainted or mislabeled and has the potential to harm the consumer in some manner. This research examines recall events issued by firms over the period of January, 2000 through October, 2009 in the United States. Utilizing economic and management theory to establish predictions, this study employs the Cox proportional hazard regression model to analyze the effects of firm size and branding on the risk of recall recurrence. The size of the firm was measured in both billions of dollars of sales and in thousands of employees. Branding by the firm was measured as a binary variable that expressed if a firm had a brand and as a count of the number of brands within a firm. This study also provides a descriptive statistical analysis and several findings based on the recall data specifically relating to annual occurrences, geographical locations of the firms involved, types of products recalled, and reasons for recall. We hypothesized that the increasing firm size would be associated with increased relative risk of a recall event while branding and an increasing portfolio of brands would be associated with decreased relative risk of a recall event. However, it was found that increased firm size and branding by the firm are associated with an increased risk of recall occurrence. The results of this research can have implications on food safety standards in both the public and private sectors.