The Link between Food Safety and Zoonotic Disease Risks at Wholesale and Wet Markets in China

21 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2020

See all articles by Qihua Gao

Qihua Gao

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Retsef Levi

MIT Sloan School of Management - Operations Research Center

Nicholas Renegar

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Operations Research Center

Date Written: October 25, 2020

Abstract

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

Gao, Qihua and Levi, Retsef and Renegar, Nicholas, The Link between Food Safety and Zoonotic Disease Risks at Wholesale and Wet Markets in China (October 25, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3718510 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3718510

Qihua Gao

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

100 Main Street
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Retsef Levi

MIT Sloan School of Management - Operations Research Center ( email )

100 Main Street
E62-416
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

Nicholas Renegar (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Operations Research Center ( email )

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Bldg. E 40-149
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.mit.edu/~renegar

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