Slaughterhouse Rules: Animal Uniformity and Regulating for Food Safety in Meat Packing

Posted: 20 Dec 2005

See all articles by David A. Hennessy

David A. Hennessy

Iowa State University - Department of Economics

Abstract

Meat retailers express demand for a more uniform product, and technical innovations are allowing an increasingly uniform supply. Packers can promote uniformity through pre-slaughter sorting, or earlier through contracts. Emphasizing effort on the packing line, we develop a model whereby packers gain from carcass handling efficiencies when animal uniformity increases. Whether optimally regulated or not, equilibrium food safety declines with increased uniformity. A line speed regulation can increase welfare in the presence of food safety externalities by reducing the opportunity cost of allocating effort toward promoting food safety. The regulation also reduces packer demand for more uniform animals.

Keywords: biotechnology, contract provisions, industrialization, overload, safety regulation

Suggested Citation

Hennessy, David A., Slaughterhouse Rules: Animal Uniformity and Regulating for Food Safety in Meat Packing. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 87, No. 3, pp. 600-609, August 2005, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=856519 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8276.2005.00750.x

David A. Hennessy (Contact Author)

Iowa State University - Department of Economics ( email )

260 Heady Hall
Ames, IA 50011
United States
515-294-6171 (Phone)

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