Origins, Challenges and Evolutions in Regulatory Inspections
Chapter 2: Inspections, risks and circumstances: historical development, diversity of structures and practices
While there were already some inspection officials in ancient times (customs, weights and measures), and official controls of food developed in the Middle Ages, ‘modern’ inspectorates date back to the 19th century. This chapter looks at the development of food safety and occupational safety and health inspections, mostly in the UK and the US, to understand the dynamics that led to their creation and evolution. It shows the importance of risk perceptions, trust issues and interest groups in shaping the regulatory response – and the strength of path dependency in how inspection institutions and practices differ today. Indeed, divergences between countries seem to owe more to historical conditions and evolutions than to rational planning.
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