Global Food Governance

Implications of Food Safety and Quality Standards in International Trade Law

by Mariela Maidana-Eletti (Author)
©2016 Thesis XVIII, 175 Pages


With increasingly globalised markets, changing consumer preferences and the steady development of technologies influencing food trade flows, safety and quality concerns have triggered the development of new forms of global (food) governance. Since its creation in 1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has succeeded in providing a multilateral legal framework for the development of regulatory practices through its multiple agreements. Similarly, the continuing importance of regional and bilateral trade agreements, such as in the European Union and in Switzerland, has enhanced WTO’s accomplishments through a comprehensive and dynamic set of international rules and standards for trade. However, the changing trends in the production and distribution of food products have questioned the effectiveness of the regulatory status quo. This book addresses the legal aspects of the current global architecture for food governance, particularly with regard to the role of international standards. In doing so, this work attempts at mapping the implications of domestic food measures in international trade law.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Acknowledgement
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Abbreviations
  • Introduction
  • 1. Global Food Markets and Standards
  • 2. Hypothesis and Methodology
  • 1. Global Food Governance
  • 1.1 Exploring the Concept of Global Governance
  • 1.1.1 On Good Governance
  • 1.1.2 On Food Governance
  • 1.2 Economic Theories of International Trade: A Question of Market Failure or Market Access?
  • 1.2.1 Market Access
  • 1.2.2 Market Failure
  • 1.3 A Summary of the Legal Foundations of the Multilateral Trading System
  • 1.3.1 National Treatment
  • 1.3.2 Most-Favoured Nation Treatment
  • 1.3.3 The Concept of Like Products
  • 1.3.4 General Exceptions
  • 1.4 Conclusion
  • 2. The Importance of Food Standards in International Trade Law
  • 2.1 Introduction
  • 2.1.1 The Role of Standards
  • 2.1.2 The Concept of International Standards
  • 2.2 What is a Relevant International Standard?
  • 2.3 International Standard as a Basis for Regulation
  • 2.4 Effectiveness and Appropriateness of Attaining a Legitimate Aim
  • 2.4.1 Effectiveness and Appropriateness
  • 2.4.2 Legitimate Objectives
  • 2.5 Conclusion
  • 3. Food Standard-Setting Organisations
  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.2 The Codex Alimentarius Commission
  • 3.2.1 CAC Rules of Procedure
  • 3.2.2 The Development of CAC Standards
  • 3.2.3 The Adoption of CAC Standards
  • 3.3 The International Organization for Standardization
  • 3.3.1 ISO Membership
  • 3.3.2 The Development and Adoption of ISO Standards
  • 3.4 Case Study: The German Food Code Commission
  • 3.4.1 The Adoption and Modification of Food Standards
  • 3.4.2 The Impact of Adopted Food Standards
  • Ham Case I
  • Ham Case II
  • The Protocol Case
  • 3.4.3 Closing Remarks
  • 3.5 Conclusion
  • 4. Food Quality Standards as Technical Barriers to Trade
  • 4.1 What is Food Quality and Why does it Matter?
  • 4.2 From Tokyo to Uruguay: A Summary of the Historical Development of the TBT Agreement
  • 4.3 The Concept of Technical Regulation
  • 4.3.1 Identifiable Product
  • 4.3.2 Characteristics of the Product
  • 4.3.3 Mandatory Measure
  • 4.4 Standards under the TBT Agreement
  • 4.5 Non-Governmental Bodies under the TBT Agreement
  • 4.6 Conclusion
  • 5. Food Labelling Standards and Trademark Law
  • 5.1 Consumer Protection and Food Labelling
  • 5.2 A Summary of the Historical Development of the TRIPS Agreement on Trademarks
  • 5.3 Trademarks and Their Role in Food Trade
  • 5.3.1 Definition of Trademarks
  • 5.3.2 The Taxonomy of Trademarks
  • Individual Marks
  • Collective Marks
  • 5.3.3 The Functions of Trademarks
  • Guarantee of Origin
  • Guarantee of Quality
  • 5.4 The Legal Framework for Trademarks under the TRIPS Agreement
  • 5.4.1 The Definition of a Trademark
  • The Characteristics of a Trademark
  • The Functions of a Trademark
  • 5.4.2 Trademark Rights Conferred
  • A Presumption of Absoluteness
  • Protection against Confusion
  • 5.4.3 Exceptions to the Trademark Rights
  • Notion of Limited Exceptions
  • Legitimate Interests of the Owner
  • Lesser Standard of Regard for the Interests of Third Parties
  • 5.4.4 Special Trademark Requirements
  • 5.5 Conclusion
  • 6. Food Safety Standards as Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures
  • 6.1 Health Protection and Food Safety
  • 6.2 The SPS Agreement in Context
  • 6.3 What is an SPS Measure?
  • 6.4 Relevant SPS Principles for Food Standards
  • 6.4.1 International Standards and Harmonisation
  • 6.4.2 Scientific Basis and the Precautionary Principle
  • 6.4.3 Mutual Recognition or Equivalence
  • 6.5 Case Study: Private Food Safety Standards
  • 6.5.1 Private Food Standard-Setting Entities
  • 6.5.2 Discussions on Private Standards in the SPS Committee
  • 6.5.3 Outlook
  • 6.6 Conclusion
  • 7. The Coordination of European Food Standards
  • 7.1 Introduction
  • 7.2 EU Principles on the Free Movement of Goods
  • 7.2.1 The Old Approach
  • 7.2.2 The New Approach
  • The EU Green Paper on Food Safety
  • The EC Communication on Consumer Health and Safety
  • The EU White Paper on Food Safety
  • 7.2.3 The Global Approach
  • 7.3 The Importance of ECJ Jurisprudence for EU Food Law
  • 7.3.1 Dassonville and Trade-Restrictive Measures
  • 7.3.2 Cassis de Dijon and the Origins of Equivalence
  • 7.3.3 Keck and Selling Arrangements
  • 7.4 The Development of the Mutual Recognition Principle
  • 7.4.1 Limiting the Scope of Application
  • 7.4.2 Improving Effectiveness
  • 7.4.3 EU Harmonization of Technical Rules
  • 7.4.4 Defining EU Technical Rules
  • 7.5 Conclusion
  • 8. The Equivalence of Swiss Food Standards
  • 8.1 Introduction
  • 8.2 The Legal Framework for Trade Relations between the EU and Switzerland
  • 8.2.1 The 1972 Free Trade Agreement (FTA)
  • 8.2.2 Bilateral Agreements
  • Bilateral I
  • Bilateral II
  • 8.3 Swiss Food Law and the Unilateral Introduction of the Mutual Recognition Principle
  • 8.3.1 The Umbrella Provision in Article 16a) THG
  • 8.3.2 The Non-Discrimination Clause in Article 16b) THG
  • 8.3.3 The Exception for Foodstuffs in Article 16c) THG
  • 8.4 Conclusion
  • Conclusion: Implications of Food Safety and Quality Standards in International Trade Law
  • Bibliography
  • Legal Materials
  • Studies in Global Economic Law Studien zum globalen Wirtschaftsrecht Études en droit économique mondial
  • Series

| XV →

List of Abbreviations

AB (WTO) Appellate Body
AG Aktiengesellschaft
AIDCO Agreement on International Dolphin Conservation Program
Appl. Econ. P. Pol. Oxford Journal of Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy
Art./s Article/s
ASEAN Association of Southeast Asian Nations
BGBl. (German) Bundesgesetzblatt
BMELV Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft
BRC British Retail Consortium
BSE Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
BVerwG Bundesverwaltungsgericht/German Federal Administrative Court
C Case
CAC Codex Alimentarius Commission
CDIP WIPO Committee on Development and Intellectual Property
Cf. Confer
Co. Company
COM Communication
Conf. Conference
COOL Country of Origin Labelling
Cth Commonwealth of Australia
Dir. (EU) Directive
Doc. Document
DS WTO Dispute Settlement
e.g. exemplia gratia/for example
EC European Communities
EEC European Economic Community
ECJ European Court of Justice XV | XVI →
ECR European Communities Report
ed/eds Editor/s
EFSA European Food Safety Authority
EFTA European Free Trade Association
EG Europäische Gemeinschaft
et al. et alibi/and others
et seq. et sequens/and that which follows
EU European Union
FAO Food and Agriculture Organisation
FCTC WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
FDFA Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
fr. French
FTA Free Trade Agreement
GAP Good Agricultural Practices
GATT General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
ger. German
GFSI Global Food Safety Initiative
GlobalGAP Global Partnership for Good Agricultural Practices
IFG (German) Informationsfreiheitsgesetz
IFS International Food Standard
Inc. Incorporation
IPPC International Plant Protection Convention
ISA International Federation of the National Standardizing Associations
ISO International Organization for Standardization
Iss. Issue
LBFG (German) Lebensmittel-, Bedarfsgegenstände- und Futtermittelgesetzbuch
Ltd. Limited
MERCOSUR Mercado Común del Sur
MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology
NAFTA North American Free Trade Agreement
Nr. Number
NWF Nordrhein-Westfalen
OECD Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development XVI | XVII →
OIE Office International des Epizooties
OJ EU Official Journal
OVG Oberverwaltungsgericht
p./pp. page/s
para./s paragraph/s
R (WTO) Report
RASFF Rapid Alert System for Foodstuffs
Rev. Revised
S. Seite
s./ss. Section/s
SPS Agreement WTO Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures
SQF Safe Quality Food
SR Systematische Sammlung des Bundesrechts
TBT Agreement WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade
THG (Swiss) Bundesgesetz über die technischen Handelshemmnisse
TRIPS Agreement WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
TS Technical Specification
UK United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
UN United Nations
UNDP United Nations Development Program
UNIDO United Nations Industrial Development Organization
UNSCC United Nations Standards Coordinating Committee
UNTS United Nation Treaty Series
US United States of America
v. versus
VG (German) Verwaltungsgericht
VIPaV (Swiss) Verordnung über das Inverkehrbringen von nach ausländischen technischen Vorschriften hergestellten Produkten und über deren Überwachung auf dem Markt
VO (EU) Verordnung XVII | XVIII →
Vol. Volume
WHO World Health Organization
WIPO World Intellectual Property Organization
WTO World Trade Organisation
ZAR Zeitschrift für Arbeitsrecht

| 1 →


1. Global Food Markets and Standards

As globalised markets, changing consumer preferences and the steady development of new technologies influence food trade flows, safety and quality concerns have triggered the development of new forms of food governance. Likewise, the expanding global food market continues to increase the economic value of world food exports and imports, which already reached US 1,375 billion in 2012 alone.1 While the European Union tops the list of leading food markets with US 522 billion dollars in exports, the United States follows in the second place with US 138 billion dollars.2 Switzerland remains an important market player with an increase of over 300% in food exports since 2000, accounting for a total value of US 8,414 million dollars in 2012.3 The tendency in global food trade is set to increase, albeit slightly more slowly, in the coming years.4

As a result of these market fluctuations, recent decades have seen significant changes in the legal architecture governing trade in food. Since its creation in 1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has succeeded in providing a multilateral framework for the development of new regulatory practices through its multiple agreements between WTO Members. Similarly, the continuing importance of regional and bilateral trade agreements has enhanced these accomplishments, proving a comprehensive and dynamic set of international rules and standards for trade in foodstuffs. However, the changing trends in the production and distribution 1 | 2 → of food products and recent worldwide outbreaks of food-borne diseases have questioned the effectiveness of the current regulatory status quo.5

While international trade in food increases, national governments remain at times unable to regulate food products and food industries effectively. Transnational competition, increasing corporate power and the consolidation of global food industries require collective policy action that can no longer be attained on a domestic level alone.6 Equally, the legal implications of food safety and quality standards in designing effective trade policies cannot be overseen.


Figure 1: The Role of Food Standards in International Trade.


XVIII, 175
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2016 (January)
Global Governance Food Law Food Quality EU Internal Market Law Swiss Food Law International Standards WTO Law Food Safety TBT Agreement
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, New York, Wien, 2016. XVIII, 175 pp.

Biographical notes

Mariela Maidana-Eletti (Author)

Mariela Maidana-Eletti is a Swiss trained lawyer, currently holding a visiting appointment as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of International Economic Law, Georgetown University Law Center in Washington DC in the USA. She holds a PhD in Legal Sciences from the University of Lucerne in Switzerland, an LL.M in International Business Law from the Free University Amsterdam in The Netherlands and a Master in Law from the UNED Madrid in Spain. She is admitted to the Spanish bar and has practiced international and domestic commercial law in Switzerland. Her research interests focus on international economic law at the intersection of food and public health regulation.


Title: Global Food Governance
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195 pages