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 5: Being well fed: Food safety regimes in China

Neil Collins and Jörn-Carsten Gottwald

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


The integrity of the food supply has always been high on the implied contract between governments and their citizens, but in China the issue also has deep cultural and historical significance. Chinese cuisine is famous for its variety of ingredients, most of them supposed to improve the consumers’ health. In recent years, however, substances like ‘ink, dye, bleach, wax and toxic chemicals’ have all been found in the food Chinese people consume (Burkitt 2011a). The discovery of fake wine, fake tofu and fake eggs made of cheap chemicals marked a new peak in a series of scandals (Huei 2011). Food safety is an ongoing serious political issue in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). It challenges the Communist Party’s (CCP) assertion that its monopoly of power is in the interests of the people. Regular promises by the party leaders to secure food safety remain unfulfilled (LaFraniere 2011b). Food scandals question the Party’s claim to the traditional Chinese ideal of the benevolent leader and, to this extent, damage the CCP’s legitimacy (Shue 2010).

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