Food Safety and the Adoption of Traceability: Evidence from a Wholesale Market Field Survey in China
18 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2019
Date Written: December 2, 2019
Food safety is a global problem with a large impact on human health and a high level of priority for governments. Supply chain traceability is key to enable food safety, since it allows problems to be traced to their source. Moreover, it allows regulatory agencies to understand where risk enters into the supply chain, and offers a major disincentive for upstream agricultural businesses engaging in economically motivated adulteration. Despite its importance, there has been little empirical research on what factors are associated with the adoption of traceability. This paper focuses on the aquatic supply chain in China, and seeks to understand the adoption of supply chain traceability empirically, through the most extensive field survey ever conducted at Chinese wholesale markets. The survey includes 76 managers and 753 vendors, covering all aquatic wholesale markets in Zhejiang and Hunan provinces. The results suggest that adoption of traceability among aquatic wholesale market vendors is significantly associated with inspection intensity, their individual history of food safety problems, and their risk awareness (specifically exposure to quality and safety issues as measured by their involvement in aquatic products associations and social media groups). In addition, a theoretical model of vendor behavior is proposed to explain these observations. The goal is that this paper will offer insights into the current state of traceability in China, as well as hypotheses for how the adoption of traceability can be improved.
Keywords: Food Safety, Traceability, Supply Chain, China, Wholesale Market
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