Consumer perceptions of produce safety: A study of Pennsylvania

Daniel Tobin, Joan Thomson, Luke LaBorde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


As a leading cause of foodborne illnesses, fresh fruits and vegetables have received national attention, recently highlighted by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) which was signed into law in early 2011 by President Obama. Through this law [P.L. 111-353], the United States Food and Drug Administration will establish mandatory minimum standards based on known safety risks for the safe production and harvesting of produce. As the new law is implemented, continuing to assess American consumer perceptions regarding produce safety will be particularly important, for those perceptions will allow actors within the supply chain to better meet consumer demand. Using data collected among Pennsylvania consumers, this paper presents empirical evidence documenting how consumer demographics, along with their preferences for specific attributes in fresh produce, such as local, organic and inspected for food safety, affect their produce safety perceptions. Such an analysis provides important information for stakeholders seeking to implement practices that reduce the risk of foodborne contamination. A clearer understanding of consumer produce safety perceptions and preferences will allow stakeholder groups, including growers and supermarkets, to make better informed decisions regarding their food safety policies and practices. In addition, assessing consumer produce safety perceptions can also help Cooperative Extension in the U.S. adapt its educational programming to address public demand.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-312
Number of pages8
JournalFood Control
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science


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