Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Farmers markets and Food-Borne illness

Bellemare, Marc F. and King, Robert P. and Nguyen, Ngoc (Jenny) (2015): Farmers markets and Food-Borne illness.

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Abstract

We study the relationship between farmers markets and food-borne illness in the United States. Using a state-level panel data set for the period 2004-2011, we find a positive relationship between the number of farmers markets per capita on the one hand and, on the other hand, the number of reported (i) outbreaks of food-borne illness, (ii) cases of food-borne illness, (iii) outbreaks of Campylobacter jejuni, and (iv) cases of Campylobacter jejuni. Our estimates indicate that a 1% increase in the number of farmers markets is associated with a 0.7% (3.9%) increase in the total number of reported outbreaks of food-borne illness (Campylobacter jejuni), and a 3.9% (2.1%) increase in the total number of reported cases of food-borne illness (Campylobacter jejuni) in the average state-year. Our estimates also suggest that a doubling of the number of farmers markets in the average state-year would be associated with an economic cost of over $900,000 in additional cases of food-borne illness. When controlling simultaneously for both the number of farmers markets and the number of farmers markets that accept SNAP benefits (i.e., food stamps), we find that they are respectively associated positively and negatively with reported food-borne illness outbreaks and cases. Our results are robust to different specifications and estimators, and falsification and placebo tests indicate that they are unlikely to be spurious.

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