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Global Food Governance

Implications of Food Safety and Quality Standards in International Trade Law


Mariela Maidana-Eletti

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.
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1. Global Food Governance


1.1 Exploring the Concept of Global Governance

The concept of governance was first identified in and limited to the field of economics, where it rapidly gained relevance.9 In the past two decades, however, this term has passed its own conceptual boundaries10 to become a widely-used term in describing the conduct of world affairs across different disciplines.11 It has also been defined as a technocratic process that follows the efficiency dogma,12 as the process of running a government and other public and private agencies with a social purpose,13 as a term 7 | 8 → for contemporary global problem solving,14 as a means of reference for the era after the breakdown of European Socialism in 198915 and as a formula that verbalizes ‘[the] overlapping of different disciplinary perspectives in a collaborative effort to make sense of the transformation associated with globalization’.16

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