Testing the Limits of Global Food Governance: The Case of Ractopamine

European Journal of Risk Regulation, Vol. 3, 2012

HEC Paris Research Paper No. 967/2013

13 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2012 Last revised: 25 Apr 2015

See all articles by Alberto Alemanno

Alberto Alemanno

HEC Paris - Tax & Law

Giuseppe Capodieci

European Livestock and Meat Trading Union

Date Written: August 22, 2012

Abstract

Although few citizens outside of the livestock industry have heard about this veterinary drug, ractopamine is set to become not only the source of public concern but also the trigger of another endless transatlantic trade dispute. After years of scientific and political deadlock, the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) narrowly voted, on July 5, 2012 to adopt the first-ever maximum residue levels for ractopamine hydrochloride, a controversial veterinary drug used in animal feed that boosts growth and promotes leanness in pigs and cattle. The high polarization on the political acceptability of the substance as well as the politicization of its underlying science that have accompanied the discussions within Codex are likely to weaken the legitimacy and overall effectiveness of the adopted standard on the multilateral global food safety governance. In particular, this decision, by making it easier for the U.S. and others to challenge countries like China, the European Union and Taiwan for having zero tolerance policies for ractopamine residues in meat products, is likely to lead the World Trade Organization to judge against those countries that ban the use of ractopamine. Yet this likely outcome begs the question of whether the weight of an international standard adopted with a one vote difference could realistically be considered tantamount to one adopted under consensus. Under these circumstances, ractopamine is set to become the source of another endless transatlantic trade dispute and a test case for the embryonic and fragmented global food governance system.

Keywords: codex alimentarius, risk regulation, food law, precautionary principle, EU law, WTO Law

JEL Classification: K23, K32, K40, I18

Suggested Citation

Alemanno, Alberto and Capodieci, Giuseppe, Testing the Limits of Global Food Governance: The Case of Ractopamine (August 22, 2012). European Journal of Risk Regulation, Vol. 3, 2012; HEC Paris Research Paper No. 967/2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2133908

Alberto Alemanno (Contact Author)

HEC Paris - Tax & Law ( email )

1 rue de la Libération
Jouy-en-Josas Cedex, 78351
France

Giuseppe Capodieci

European Livestock and Meat Trading Union

81A, rue de la Loi (box 9)
4th floor
Brussels, 1040
Belgium

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