This paper focuses on the Italian beef market and chain organization after the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) crises. This food scare, on the one hand, strongly affected consumers' attitude, making meat safety one of the most important issues of product quality for both consumers and retailers and, on the other hand, had important effects on the supply chain organization. The coming into force of the European Regulations (EC) No. 1760/2000 and No. 1825/2000 on beef labeling has partly led to a reshaping of the structure and organization of the Italian beef chain. The new relationships and contracts along the chain have been analyzed, and the strategies set up by the retailers to improve beef safety and quality and reinforce market segmentation have been discussed. The experience of the COOP Italia, the most important large-scale retailer, has been studied and discussed considering its chain organization and contract designing for beef products.
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