Public and Private Encounters
Edited by Tetty Havinga, Frans van Waarden and Donal Casey
Chapter 3: Regulation of food safety in the EU: Explaining organizational diversity among Member States
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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