Success of new European Food Authority rests on harmonisation of food laws

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Related tags: European union

The European Union's new food regulatory regime can be understood
as a political, rather than science-based solution to the problem
of recurrent food crises.

The European Union's new food regulatory regime can be understood as a political, rather than science-based solution to the problem of recurrent food crises that have threatened the foundations of the single market, write American analysts this week. According to a paper written by Laurie Buonanno, Sharon Zablotney and Richard Keefer the failure of first, mutual trust and subsequently, its remedy, comitology, led to calls for an agency solution. They add that the question of whether to invest an agency with the three powers of risk assessment, communication, and management can be understood as a struggle to define the role of the scientist in the management of regulatory policy. Scientists base their recommendations on probabilities; politicians are accountable to a public that expects government to guarantee zero risk. The outcome, a European Food Authority (EFA), preserves the management function and the Rapid Alert System within the Commission. They continue that the EFA's success will rest on the harmonisation of food law in Member States and the creation of a network between the EFA and Member State food agencies. Satisfaction of these goals, in turn, depends upon transparency, open communication, and willingness to cooperate. An unintended consequence of the new regulatory regime for food may be to strengthen corporate food producers and accelerate food homogeneity within Europe. The authors conclude that these processes carry their own set of problems regarding interest group behaviour, unconventional political behaviour, and voter mobilisation.

Related topics: Regulation & Policy

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