Private Standards and Global Governance

Private Standards and Global Governance

Economic, Legal and Political Perspectives

Leuven Global Governance series

Edited by Axel Marx, Miet Maertens, Johan Swinnen and Jan Wouters

The expert contributors assess the state-of-the-art with regard to private regulation of food, natural resources and labor conditions. They begin with an introduction to, and discussion of, several leading existing private standards, and go on to assess private food standards and their legitimacy and effectiveness in the context of the global trade regime.

Chapter 8: Transnational Governance by Contract – Private Regulation and Contractual Networks in Food Safety

F. Cafaggi

Subjects: development studies, development studies, law - academic, regulation and governance


26/6/12/final 8. Transnational governance by contract: private regulation and contractual networks in food safety1 Fabrizio Cafaggi 1. TRANSNATIONAL PRIVATE REGULATION AND SUPPLY CHAIN Transnational private regulation (TPR) in food safety is growing, adopting new models which influence both access to and exit from markets and the level of consumer safety. Private standards include rules not only concerning products and processes including traceability, but also extend to the use of chemicals and pesticides and their effects on the environment. TPR’s impact differs across commodities – in some cases, competitiveness is primarily linked to price, while in others quality and safety are playing an ever more significant role. There seems to be a link between the development of TPR and the current structures of the supply chain in the agri-food industry.2 Different forms of global food safety regulation have recently emerged including public, private and hybrid forms (see Henson and Humphrey, 2009 and FAO/WHO, 2010). At the international level, standards have also been linked to the right to food. The Human Rights Council has recently devoted specific attention to the right to food and, in particular, issues relating to contract farming applying the Ruggie’s ‘protect, respect and remedy’ framework to the food sector.3 According to the reporter Olivier de Schutter, both state responsibility and corporate responsibility should lead to a different regulatory framework concerning contract farming4 as the organizational choice of (agri)business models are not neutral with respect to the human right to food. Indeed,...

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