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Global Food Governance

Implications of Food Safety and Quality Standards in International Trade Law

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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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7. The Coordination of European Food Standards

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7.1 Introduction

The impact attributed to WTO rules goes far beyond their implementation in national legislation. It also affects the way Members cooperate with one another on a bilateral level and their regional networks and agreements. NAFTA,407 MERCOSUR,408 ASEAN409 and the EU offer some very concrete examples on the influence of international trade rules in their own regional organisations. Food standards play an important role in the international-regional dynamic. Depending on the regulatory approach preferred, coordination, harmonisation and equivalence will be more or less reflected in their own set of food trade rules.

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