Comparative Food Law
Michael Roberts (ed.), Research Handbook on International Food Law, Edward Elgar Publishing 2023 (Forthcoming)
European Institute for Food Law working paper 2022/01
38 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2022
Date Written: July 4, 2022
This is a draft chapter that has been submitted for peer review with a view to publication by Edward Elgar Publishing in the forthcoming book Research Handbook on International Food Law edited by Michael Roberts due to be published in 2023.
In this paper the authors propose a legal systematic approach to the comparative analysis of food law.
Food law is not only a branch of law that the legislature may have dedicated to food. It is also a functional (or multi-doctrinal) field of academic endeavour. It is up to the researchers to decide where they draw the boundaries of what they bring into food law. It is important in comparative food law that this is done consistently with regard to the jurisdictions under scrutiny and that it is done explicitly.
Food law is unique in the sense that global harmonisation of national law is attempted trough the Codex Alimentarius. The Codex provides comparatists a ready made nomenclature of food law which is understood globally. Moreover, the Codex could serve as tertium comparationis.
In many countries in the world food legal systems have been created or reformed in response to crises that sparked public outcry. The nature of the crisis and the historic context in which it occurred may contribute to understanding certain characterists of the system. Does it address accidents or crime? Does it express itself in terms of do’s or don’t’s. Other elements include the use of product standards and positive lists.
The systematic approach in this chapter maps the field through three questions: Who is addressed by food law? What are the issues food law tackles and how are these issues regulated? This is translated into a model outline for research papers in comparative food law. The authors illustrate how this outline might work in practice with examples taken from the Codex Alimentarius (International Law), The USA (Common Law), the EU (Civil Law) and China (Socialist Law).
The authors invite their peers in the emerging food legal community to contribute to widening and deepening of comparative food law.
Keywords: comparative law, comparative methods, comparative food law, systematic approach
JEL Classification: K20, K23, K30, K32, Q18
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