"Food safety regulations and the perception of risk are different among countries. This can lead to persistent trade frictions and even reduce food trade. These differences may also lead to increased dialogue between countries, with improved food safety systems the result. Although little disruption to trade has occurred for food safety reasons (considering the total volume of food trade), trade issues or crises related to food safety are wide ranging. These issues and crises challenge policymakers and industries to both protect domestic food supplies and nurture international markets. Meanwhile, consumers in developed countries are demanding safer food. Risk reduction measures and quality certification programs can not only pre-empt food safety crises, but can better position exporters in emerging overseas markets. However, coherency between trade and food safety goals requires public intervention and investment and/or private costs... This report presents ERS research on the interaction between food safety and international trade. Food safety challenges are mounting and crises like "mad cow disease" are becoming more pronounced. Growth in world food trade means that U.S. consumers are more dependent on the food safety measures used in other countries and that there are greater opportunities for U.S. food exports. This research was performed by examining the conceptual relationships between food safety and international trade and by examining the meat and poultry, produce, food/animal feed crop, and seafood sectors for trends in trade, food safety regulation, and the resolution of incidents and disputes related to both."
Agricultural Economic Report Number 828
USDA Publications: http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/