USDA Report Suggests BSE Affected Beef Sales

According to a new USDA Economic Research Service study, the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in Washington State in 2003 caused a dip in beef purchases.

Published on: Jan 3, 2007

A USDA Economic Research service study released Friday provides evidence that the U.S. government announcement of finding cows in Washington State infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy in 2003 resulted in a dip in beef purchases.

According to consumer beef purchase data gathered from ACNielsen Homescan by USDA researchers, fresh beef sales in the U.S. were unusually low in the two weeks following the 2003 BSE announcement.

Frozen beef sales fell in the week after the announcement, and frankfurter sales fell in the second week, although there is evidence to suggest an unrelated event may have been responsible for the dip in frankfurter sales.

Whatever the short-term effects of the BSE announcement, after two weeks, consumers appeared to behave just as they had before the announcement.

To view the entire study, visit www.ers.usda.gov/publications/err34/.