The Link between Food Safety and Zoonotic Disease Risks at Wholesale and Wet Markets in China
21 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2020
Date Written: October 25, 2020
Numerous zoonotic outbreaks in China (e.g., COVID-19) have been associated with wholesale markets (WSMs) and wet markets (WMs). Furthermore, markets are associated with significant food-safety risks. Many have advocated for market closures. However, this is impractical due to markets’ central roles in China’s food supply chain. This first-of-its-kind work offers an alternative pragmatic approach, by showing correlation between these two types of risks. Leveraging a massive, self-constructed dataset of food safety tests, market-level food-safety risk scores are created through machine learning techniques. Analysis shows that provinces selling more animals through high-risk markets have more human cases of zoonotic flu. Additionally, specific markets associated with zoonotic disease are high-risk, and high-risk markets have more negative news stories related to management deficiencies (e.g., illegal wild animal sales). The hope is that this approach may offer a new way of understanding zoonotic disease risks, as well as informing regulatory approaches to reduce them.
Keywords: Agriculture, Food Safety, Zoonotic Disease, China
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation