Assessing risk in the food supply is becoming a increasingly complex task, a new study says.

The 2009 U.S. Food System, Agribusiness and Beverage Industry Report from Chicago-based risk management services provider Aon Corp. cited commodity price volatility, weather and natural disasters, and product recall as the leading industry risks.What's more, the report finds that many firms are not prepared to deal with increasing regulation, such as tougher food safety laws proposed by the current U.S. administration.

"Companies in the U.S. food system are faced with more complex risks today than ever before, and it is vital for them to fully understand these exposures so they can make informed and insightful decisions," said Rick Shanks , national managing director of Aon's food system, agribusiness and beverage practice.

The first annual report also notes a  historical trend of rate decreases for casualty, property and directors' and officers' liability coverage for food system, agribusiness and beverage  companies. However, the report  forecasts a trend toward flat renewals or even slight increases over the next year.

The  report surveyed 53 companies in the food industries and was generated by Aon Analytics to help Aon's clients in these industries remain abreast of emerging issues and learn how peers and competitors are managing risk.

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