Costs of Food Safety Investments in the Meat and Poultry Slaughter Industries
To develop regulations efficiently, federal agencies need to know the costs of implementing various regulatory alternatives. As the regulatory agency responsible for the safety of meat and poultry products, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service is interested in the costs borne by meat and poultry establishments. This study estimated the costs of developing, validating, and reassessing hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP), sanitary standard operating procedures (SSOP), and sampling plans; food safety training for new employees; antimicrobial equipment and solutions; sanitizing equipment; third-party audits; and microbial tests. Using results from an in-person expert consultation, web searches, and contacts with vendors, we estimated capital equipment, labor, materials, and other costs associated with these investments. Results are presented by establishment size (small and large) and species (beef, pork, chicken, and turkey), when applicable. For example, the cost of developing food safety plans, such as HACCP, SSOP, and sampling plans, can range from approximately $6000 to $87000, depending on the type of plan and establishment size. Food safety training costs from approximately $120 to $2500 per employee, depending on the course and type of employee. The costs of third-party audits range from approximately $13000 to $24000 per audit, and establishments are often subject to multiple audits per year. Knowing the cost of these investments will allow researchers and regulators to better assess the effects of food safety regulations and evaluate cost-effective alternatives.