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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Resource Economics

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) represents a major change to U.S. food policy. Because several FSMA rules require that covered businesses comply with standards by 2019 at the latest, the legislation is expected to have considerable effects on the U.S. food system in the near future. This research examines potential challenges associated with two different FSMA rules. The first essay uses farm-level data from the 2012 Census of Agriculture to estimate the number of farms and acres covered by the FSMA Final Rule on Produce Safety in the California, the Northeast, and the entire U.S. Industry information and interviews with stakeholders are assessed in conjunction with the Census data to hypothesize how farms in two distinct U.S. production regions, California and the Northeast, will fare under the rule. For the second essay, we developed unique datasets containing information on 425 food certification standards and 581 certification bodies. The certification data is used to develop a descriptive analysis of patterns in the international food certification industry. We show how offices of certification bodies that offer food safety certification services are distributed geographically, which serves as a basis for assessing international auditing capacity under the FSMA Final Rule on Accredited Third-Party Certification.


First Advisor

Julie A Caswell

Second Advisor

Daniel A Lass