Special Issue "Global Food Safety Law and Policy"

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A special issue of Laws (ISSN 2075-471X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 February 2013)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Professor Michael T. Roberts (Website)

School of Law, UCLA, 385 Charles E. Young Drive, 1242 Law Building, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
Interests: food law; food policy; international food law; international trade

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The rise of large urban centers and global food trade has generated a modern food system that is different than anything the world has ever experienced. This modern food system - from the farm to the fork - has given rise to increasing international concern for food safety. Foodborne illnesses are prevalent in all parts of the world, leading the World Health Organization to described foodborne illnesses as a global public health challenge. In addition, food safety poses significant political challenges as governments are susceptible to outraged citizenry over food contamination outbreaks.

A successful global food safety system depends on the viability and efficacy of global food governance and policy. Global food governance covers multiple facets: legal instruments, national food regulatory systems, national and international institutions, international law, public and private standards, trade rules, enforcement regimes, and harmonization strategies. Papers by legal scholars are needed to address the broad spectrum of legal and policy issues imbedded within these various facets and to provide much needed context, rationale, analysis, criticism, comparison, advocacy, and recommendations. Such scholarship will contribute greatly to meeting the global public health challenges of food safety.

Professor Michael T. Roberts
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Laws is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Keywords

  • food safety
  • global food regulation
  • public health law
  • food policy
  • food governance

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle What Food is to be Kept Safe and for Whom? Food-Safety Governance in an Unsafe Food System
Laws 2013, 2(4), 401-427; doi:10.3390/laws2040401
Received: 30 August 2013 / Revised: 23 September 2013 / Accepted: 8 October 2013 / Published: 22 October 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (268 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper argues that discussion of new food-safety governance should be framed by the realization that the dominant food system within which food-safety governance is designed to makes food safe is itself a structural and systemic sources of food un-safety, poor health [...] Read more.
This paper argues that discussion of new food-safety governance should be framed by the realization that the dominant food system within which food-safety governance is designed to makes food safe is itself a structural and systemic sources of food un-safety, poor health and a future of food insecurity for many. For some, an appropriate policy response lies in addressing the connections between the food system and diseases such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes. For others it means subsuming food-safety governance within food security governance. For yet others, safe food implies food sovereignty governance and the primacy of a climate change resilient food system. Conventional approaches to food-safety governance are typically framed within a liability model of responsibility that has limited usefulness for addressing institutional, structural or systemic sources of harm such as those critics increasingly attribute to the dominant food system and which are not amenable to remedy by food-safety governance as it is widely understood. One cannot identify critical hazard points where risk is to be managed. These are food-system safety challenges. Because food-safety governance is so deeply political there needs to be greater attention to issues of governance rather than the more usual focus on the technologies of food-safety. Feminist political theorists have much to contribute to re-thinking food-safety governance in the context of diversity and the complexities of power. One could usefully start with the simple questions, “what food is to be kept-safe, for whom and who is the subject of food-safety governance in a post-Westphalian political economic order?” These questions can help unpack both the narrow parochialism and the misleading universalism of food-safety talk. This paper answers that neither the citizens of a particular state (or network of states) nor the falsely universalizing identity of ‘the consumer’ are adequate answers to these questions about ‘who’ and ‘what’. Answering these questions about who and what with respect to food-safety governance brings issues of justice, ecology, public health and the legitimacy and nature of governance itself into the heart of food-safety discussions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Food Safety Law and Policy)
Open AccessArticle Labeling Genetically Engineered Food in the United States: Suggestions for a New Approach
Laws 2013, 2(3), 150-168; doi:10.3390/laws2030150
Received: 11 May 2013 / Revised: 17 June 2013 / Accepted: 24 June 2013 / Published: 1 July 2013
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Abstract
The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) provides that a food is misbranded if the label accompanying the product is false or misleading in any particular. Congress provided minimal guidance to assist the FDA in making these determinations. When challenged, courts [...] Read more.
The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) provides that a food is misbranded if the label accompanying the product is false or misleading in any particular. Congress provided minimal guidance to assist the FDA in making these determinations. When challenged, courts have granted substantial deference to FDA’s various interpretations of what constitute a material fact. However, when confronted with the regulatory question of whether or how to label products derived from genetically engineered (GE) crops, the FDA adopted a narrow reading of the statute that focused on changes in the product itself, rather than the act of genetic engineering. Only those GE products that possessed characteristics significantly different from their conventional counterparts would require labels. This “process versus product” distinction in food labels lies at the heart of the FDA’s resistance to repeated calls for mandatory labeling of foods derived from genetic engineering. Consumer interest in GE food, according to the agency, is not a material fact to trigger mandatory labeling under the statute. In contrast to its approach to GE labels, the agency has long required (since 1966) process-based labels for foods treated with irradiation. As recently as 1986, the FDA affirmed that materiality of information under it misbranding analysis is not limited to product safety or even the abstract worth of the information, but whether consumers view the information as important and whether the omission of a labeling statement would mislead the consumer. Accordingly, mere consumer interest can give rise to a mandatory labeling regime under the FFDCA. In the irradiation context, whole foods and single-ingredient products treated with irradiation must bear a label indicating the process. The irradiation of components in a multi-ingredient food product, however, need not bear a label. This distinction between processed, multi-ingredient and whole or single-ingredient foods provides a potential pathway for the agency to revise its approach to mandatory GE labeling. Exempting highly processed, multi-ingredient foods from a labeling regime would minimize traceability and segregation-generated disruptions in the commodity supply chain, thereby minimizing potential compliance costs, while also empowering consumers to express their preferences for non-GE whole and single-ingredient food products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Food Safety Law and Policy)
Open AccessArticle The Importance Placed on the Monitoring of Food Safety and Quality by Australian Consumers
Laws 2013, 2(2), 99-114; doi:10.3390/laws2020099
Received: 27 March 2013 / Revised: 14 May 2013 / Accepted: 23 May 2013 / Published: 27 May 2013
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Abstract
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) estimates that Australians experience 5.4 million incidents of food poisoning each year, making food safety a significant public health issue. This paper describes and analyses the importance placed by Australians on the role of the agencies [...] Read more.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) estimates that Australians experience 5.4 million incidents of food poisoning each year, making food safety a significant public health issue. This paper describes and analyses the importance placed by Australians on the role of the agencies and actors that regulate the safety and quality of food. A computer assisted telephone interviewing survey addressing aspect of food safety was administrated to a random sample of 1,109 participants across all Australian states (response rate 41.2%). Only 44.6% of participants viewed the monitoring of food safety and quality as ‘Very important’, with greatest significance placed upon personal monitoring (76.0%) and the role of the Federal government (51.1%). The media (22.5%) and local council (32.4%) were viewed as the least important agents. When data were combined to create an index of general monitoring, participants under 30; respondents in outer regional areas; and men identified food monitoring as less important; while respondents from households with 5 or more members viewed food monitoring as more important than respondents from smaller households. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Food Safety Law and Policy)
Open AccessArticle The Structure of European Food Law
Laws 2013, 2(2), 69-98; doi:10.3390/laws2020069
Received: 23 February 2013 / Revised: 4 April 2013 / Accepted: 7 April 2013 / Published: 16 April 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (200 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This contribution lays bare the structure of EU food law as it appears from scholarly analysis at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. The structure of EU food law can be used as a framework for teaching, application, further analysis and comparison to [...] Read more.
This contribution lays bare the structure of EU food law as it appears from scholarly analysis at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. The structure of EU food law can be used as a framework for teaching, application, further analysis and comparison to food law approaches in other parts of the world. From this analysis, food law emerges as a functional area of law. Core elements are: (1) the objectives of EU food law to protect consumers’ interests; (2) the principles of risk analysis and precaution; (3) obligations on businesses regarding the products they place on the market, the processes they apply and their communication towards consumers; and (4) public powers of law enforcement and incident management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Food Safety Law and Policy)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Public and Private Food Safety Standards: Facilitating or Frustrating Fresh Produce Growers?
Laws 2013, 2(1), 1-19; doi:10.3390/laws2010001
Received: 14 September 2012 / Revised: 9 January 2013 / Accepted: 9 January 2013 / Published: 22 January 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (151 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Global private food safety and quality standards have undergone some major overhauls during the past two decades, and these will continue to evolve with the recent emphasis on harmonization. The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) attempts to ensure that harmonize retail standards [...] Read more.
Global private food safety and quality standards have undergone some major overhauls during the past two decades, and these will continue to evolve with the recent emphasis on harmonization. The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) attempts to ensure that harmonize retail standards are commendable and elegant in principle, but in practice, retailers continue to demand their own standard, whilst supporting GFSI’s benchmarking program. It is difficult to see such retailers giving up their own standards and the control they currently exert as chain captains. There is also the risk that too much harmonization will result in these standards losing their individuality and uniqueness. Amidst the struggle for private standard dominance, alternative approaches to risk management (e.g., self-assessment of risk, independent audits and risk ranking) may be the way forward, similar to how insurance risks are calculated for businesses. Furthermore, this risk-based approach could also lead to the effective implementation of co-regulation, where both public and private sector compliances are addressed together—a win-win situation. This paper considers the implications and future trends of fresh produce farming, and identifies five interventions (i.e., assurance schemes), which include the do-nothing scenario to underpinning one’s brand or label with an existing scheme. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Food Safety Law and Policy)

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