EU Administrative Governance
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EU Administrative Governance

Edited by Herwig C.H. Hofmann and Alexander H. Türk

This book is a unique contribution to the understanding of the reality of government and governance in the European Union (EU).
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Chapter 5: European Governance of Food Safety

Bettina Rudloff and Johannes Simons


Bettina Rudloff and Johannes Simons INTRODUCTION Food safety policy in the EU faced enormous restructuring processes in the recent past. One driving factor was a lack of trust in responsible institutions because of several ‘food scandals’ (for example BSE, hormones in meat). The political relevance of food scandals is shown by the fact that politicians in several EU Member States resigned due to the BSE crisis.1 Additional incentives for these reforms came from increasing regulatory power on food issues at multinational level through the creation of the WTO and the adoption of the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS). The SPS-Agreement determines global safety standards and sets out provisions for the enforcement of stricter national standards with the help of trade barriers. According to the principles of the SPSAgreement science has become the key basis for formulating food safety policy at WTO-level. This model of scientific justification for political action is followed at European level and fits into the current general EU-model of a knowledge-based society. This chapter analyses the legitimacy of a science-dominated policy beginning from an economic point of view. It focuses on the consumer’s perspective and thereby on a demand driven policy design. Such a demand orientation has to consider results of sociological and psychological research to take into account consumers’ perception of reality. This implies that the paper follows Wessels’ (1997) idea of legitimacy being rather an empirical than an academic issue in terms of defining legitimacy as citizens’ acceptance of policies.2...

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