USDA’s Economic Research Service releases a case study, “How Much Does It Matter How Sick You Get? Consumers’ Responses to Foodborne Disease Outbreaks of Different Severities,” that suggests consumers make some distinctions among pathogens and health risks. Evidence points to consumers reacting after a 2011 recall of cantaloupe due to listeriosis. Expenditures on cantaloupe were $3.9 million (6% to 7%) lower than normal and cantaloupe purchases were 6.2 million pounds lower over a 4-week period. A year later, when federal health officials recalled some cantaloupe for Salmonella contamination, consumer response was more muted.
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