Consumers' attitudes and willingness to pay for Anisakis-free fish in Spain

Miguel Bao*, Graham J. Pierce, Norval J.C. Strachan, Cristina Martínez, Rosa Fernández, Ioannis Theodossiou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The presence of parasitic nematodes of the genus Anisakis and/or their proteins in seafood poses a risk to human health through a fish-borne zoonosis, namely anisakiasis, that can cause gastrointestinal disease and allergy. The presence of Anisakis may also dissuade consumers from purchasing fishery products, resulting in economic losses to the fishing industry. This is the first time a survey-based contingent valuation study has been performed to investigate consumers' willingness to pay for Anisakis-free fish, and to analyse consumers' responses to the presence of Anisakis in fishery products. In a survey conducted in Spain, the majority of consumers (77%) were willing to pay extra for an Anisakis-free product, indicating a willingness to pay 10% above the usual fish price at market (6.60€/kg compared with 6€/kg). Past reluctance to purchase or consume fish due to the presence of Anisakis was reported by >25% of consumers, with hake being the most frequently rejected species. Nearly two thirds of consumers would cease consuming or purchasing fish due to the presence of Anisakis. Consumers' willingness to pay was found to be significantly related to gender, stated past and future avoidance of fish consumption or purchase due to the presence of Anisakis, stated past avoidance of cod, hake and mackerel, stated consumption of sardines, and to their perception of the degree of risk of future development of anisakiasis and/or allergy to Anisakis. The study revealed two main types of reaction to the presence of Anisakis in fish: the avoidance of eating parasitized fish, and a willingness to pay above market price to avoid adverse effects on health and food quality. Overall, the results suggest that the presence of Anisakis in fish is an important health and aesthetic issue for consumers, and this is relevant for the fishing and food industries as well as for food safety authorities. Improvements in parasite inspections and development of technologies to prevent Anisakis infection in fishery products would likely both improve the economic sustainability of the industry and benefit public health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-160
Number of pages12
JournalFisheries Research
Volume202
Early online date14 Jul 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2018

Keywords

  • Anisakiasis
  • Anisakis
  • Contingent valuation
  • Fish parasite
  • Fishing industry
  • Willingness to pay

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