The Emergence and Influence of Transnational Private Regulation of Food Safety
Food and Drug Regulation in an Era of Globalized Markets (Sam Halabi ed., Elsevier, 2015)
27 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2016
Date Written: August 15, 2015
Due to a regulatory void in the public regulation of food safety at local and global levels, private actors — especially multinational food companies, supermarket chains and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) — are increasingly filling these gaps. These private entities employ private standards, certification protocols, third-party auditing, and transnational contracting practices to fill the gap. The emergence of transnational private regulation (TPR) in the food safety arena has been alongside the gradual decline of states’ traditional command-and-control regulation. These state regulations are increasingly being supplemented or replaced by more flexible, market-oriented mechanisms. Examples include Global Good Agricultural Practices (GlobalGAP) and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Global Standards, and Tesco’s Nature’s Choice, to name a few. Although TPR is, in theory, not mandatory for suppliers, many TPR schemes have a de facto mandatory status. The de facto mandatory status arises from a large part of buyers in global agri-food markets now requiring their suppliers to meet such private requirements, which are usually stricter and more prescriptive than their public counterparts. This paper endeavors to explore the structure and processes of TPR in global food safety governance. It offers a brief account of the development and proliferation of TPR as a renewed approach to food safety regulation beyond the national and international levels. This paper asserts that the development is in part due to the ineffectiveness and inefficiency of TPR’s public counterparts in coping with this global problem. In the context of the emergence of TPR in food safety, this paper further looks into the merits and problems of TPR schemes and their possible roles in global food safety governance.
Keywords: Private regulation, transnational governance, food safety
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