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Risk-based approaches to food safety regulation: what role for co-regulation?

Marian Garcia Martinez, Paul Verbruggen and Andrew Fearne

Journal of Risk Research, 2013, vol. 16, issue 9, 1101-1121

Abstract: Food safety regulation is a key policy area that has witnessed an increasing alignment of risk and regulation. This paper examines the emergence and operation of co-regulation -- a hybrid form of regulation in which public and private actors coordinate their respective regulatory activities -- within the increasingly risk-based approaches to food safety management. On the basis of an analysis of emerging co-regulatory arrangements to food safety in the European Union, the paper contends that there are considerable difficulties in implementing such hybrid arrangements and deepens the basic preconditions under which they can attain the social goal of safe food supply. Specifically, it is argued that a regulatory framework that fosters public oversight and warrants data sharing and information exchange between the public and private actors involved is needed for the attainment of that goal. This framework has to be responsive to changing risk profiles and industry environments to ensure that food safety controls are risk-based, transparent and not captured by industry interests. This is particularly crucial for encouraging voluntary compliance as well as efficient allocation of limited regulatory resources.

Date: 2013
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