The Changing Landscape of Food Governance

The Changing Landscape of Food Governance

Public and Private Encounters

Edited by Tetty Havinga, Frans van Waarden and Donal Casey

As markets become more globalized, they have also become governed by an increasingly complex array of public and private regulation. This volume investigates the changing landscape of food governance. In so doing, the contributions to his volume provide insights into broader analytical issues that have concerned regulatory governance scholars. These include the legitimacy and effectiveness of public and private regulation, the interaction of networks of regulation, regulatory responses to crisis and the distribution of power in regulatory arrangements.

Chapter 3: Regulation of food safety in the EU: Explaining organizational diversity among Member States

Gabriele Abels and Alexander Kobusch

Subjects: law - academic, regulation and governance, politics and public policy, regulation and governance


Triggered by major food scandals since the 1990s, European and national food safety policies and regulatory structures have been subject to profound reforms. In particular, the BSE crisis ‘created a window of opportunity for the development of a more internally integrated food safety policy’ (Ugland and Veggeland 2006, 618). Until then, food safety regulation had developed ‘in a piecemeal fashion’ (Alemanno 2006, 237). Scholars criticized a lack of relevant expertise in committees, the systematic exclusion of critical scientists, lack of timely release of information to the public, and the blending of science and politics (Buonanno 2006, 262–263). Accordingly, the organization of science and expertise was a major issue of the General European Food Law (GFL) adopted in early 2002. The GFL lays down principles on food safety regulation and specified rules for the newly founded European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), yet not for the institutional design of agencies at the national level. Most EU Member States set up agencies with different organizational features sometimes modelled after EFSA, and in other cases following national administrative traditions. How can we explain these institutional choices?

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