Food safety has long been a major public concern in China. One question of the food processing industry’s emphasis on food safety social responsibility is whether a food processing company should pursue food safety certification for its products. As part of their corporate image, some food processing companies focus on food safety in their corporate mission statements. To enhance the legitimacy of a mission statement, as a guide for a firm, can provide food companies the legitimacy of perhaps pursuing food safety certification. However, we find that under different equity natures, the pressures on the normative legitimacy of the firm are different and the impact of mission statements on the acquisition of food safety certifications is also different. By analyzing the mission statement of companies in the Chinese food industry, we find that firms with a mission focusing on food safety concerns are more willing to pursue food safety certification. Moreover, compared to the firms with more distributed shareholder ownership, in firms where a majority shareholder has substantial control, the relationship between mission statements and the possession of food safety certification is stronger; compared to non-state-owned enterprises, in state-owned enterprise (SOEs), the relationship between firm mission statements of and the acquisition of food safety certification is stronger.
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