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If the story plays out like past food scares, mad cow disease will barely cause a ripple in the United States or its beef industry.
Hundreds of people got sick or died from E. coli and hepatitis A in past scares, but markets for beef and green onions reacted only briefly. The scare over genetically engineered corn in the food supply even pushed prices up a bit.
Those findings fly in the face of conventional wisdom that says a food industry can be devastated by a scare. Instead, it shows consumers' attention fades quickly despite blaring headlines.

The food industry may recover quickly, but individual companies aren't always so lucky.

Of course, there's always an exception. In this instance, it's the bellwether case involving apples.
In 1989, when a news report showed Alar, a chemical suspected of causing cancer, was being sprayed on apples, the industry was wrecked. Prices kept going falling for months.
“We had mothers who were stopping buses to pull apples out of their kids' lunches,” said Tom Hale, a former president of the Washington Apple Commission.
The industry has never been the same, he adds. “We did recover, to a degree, but I still think there was a residual, ongoing effect that is still there today.”

The Alar incident is one reason why the government steps in so quickly when word of contaminated food.------There are many who consider the Alar incident a case of Phantom Risk
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