Regulation of Food Safety in the EU: Changing Patterns of Multi-Level Governance
Conference of the ECPR Standing Group on Regulatory Governance, June 2010
46 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2012
Date Written: June 17, 2010
After several food scandals in the past decades, regulatory regimes in food safety have been reformed on the level of the European Union and in most EU member states. In most countries, independent agencies have been created and mainly perform tasks in risk assessment. In our contribution, we focus on national institutional choices concerning these agencies in all 27 member states and ask whether or not these choices can be explained by path dependency or rather as a phenomenon of Europeanization at the national level. Based on a survey of all national regimes and the EU level we can observe some trends that require further scholarly studies. The main feature is that there are two dominant agency models in food safety governance: either a separation of risk assessment from risk management or an integrated model. The first one is a new development triggered by soft Europeanization effects, which are due to functional requirements and learning effects. Furthermore, these agencies have a more or less central role within the emerging network between the European Food Safety Authority EFSA and the national competent authorities.
Keywords: European Union, food safety, agencies, organizational choice
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