Addressing food safety challenges in rapidly developing food systems

Laurian J. Unnevehr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During the past decade, there has been growing awareness of the importance of food safety in developing countries. WHO estimates for 2010 show that the burden of illness from food safety worldwide is comparable to that of malaria and tuberculosis. Furthermore, the dietary transition and associated market transformation will alter and possibly increase food safety risks. Agricultural economic research has moved beyond the question of how food safety standards constitute potential export barriers to consider how food safety incentives and policies may improve food system performance in rapidly growing economies. In this regard, this paper considers the state of the art for answering four questions: How important is food safety in developing countries in terms of both public health and market performance? Why is food safety likely to become more important and more costly as more countries pass through the dietary transition? Are market incentives for improved food safety likely to emerge? What kind of policies can help to ensure a safer food supply in developing country's food systems? While much is still unknown, improving food safety is feasible, but as in high income countries, rarely simple to achieve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-539
Number of pages11
JournalAgricultural Economics (United Kingdom)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • economics of regulation
  • food policy
  • food safety
  • food system development
  • foodborne illness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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