Diseases and deaths caused by eating contaminated food are a major global health burden (Haavelar 2015) yet food safety policies have typically focus on regulating market access, with little attention paid to the informal sector despite its large role developing economies. To understand the potential of complementary approaches to regulatory enforcement, we implement a randomized-control trial among a sample of 1500 low-income households in informal settlements in urban Kenya with relative risk information on a food safety hazard associated with different types of maize flour, an important staple in the area. Specifically, we provide treated individuals with information on the relative risks of contamination with aflatoxin in formally milled and informally milled ("posho") flour.
Households will be randomly assigned with equal probability to treatment or control status. All treated households will receive information on relative aflatoxin contamination levels in Kenyan maize flour and a recommendation to purchase lower risk flour from the formal sector, with a subset of the treatment group randomly assigned to receive information on the specific risk level of posho flour. All participating households will be invited to take part in a household survey in late 2022, which will gather information on their demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, risk preferences, types of staple currently consumed, and subjective estimates of the relative risks of contamination in different types of maize flour. Treated households will receive information following the baseline interview, then all households will be re-interviewed approximately one month later to test the hypothesis that treated households will reduce their relative risk exposure by switching to purchasing formally milled flour, relative to the control group.