Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



This Article discusses the assessment of risks and benefits as one approach to organizing information.The way information is organized should depend on the way it will be valued and used. For example, the decision making authorities within the regulatory process may choose to take different approaches to food substances consumed by young and old, or rich and poor. In that case, information should be organized into those categories. An exquisite breakdown of consumption patterns by counties would do little for an age-regarding regulatory process.The remainder of this Article is divided into four parts. Part II reviews the general nature of risk and benefit assessment within the context of its somewhat better-understood relatives, cost-benefit analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis. Part III discusses a classification mechanism for the benefits of additives and contaminants in food and outlines the economic approach for converting them to a common measure. Part IV discusses the measurement of risk. Part V outlines a number of common errors that are made when risk and benefit assessments are undertaken.