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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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Conclusion: Implications of Food Safety and Quality Standards in International Trade Law


New governance mechanisms have rapidly evolved to ensure that global food demands are met. The result is an increasingly complex network of food safety and quality standards influencing international trade law that are at times difficult to navigate. In addition, the rise of informal rules complementing treaty law in international trade can hardly be overseen, particularly when it comes to the proliferation of international food standards.530

This research aimed at mapping the legal aspects of the current global architecture for food governance. In doing so, it conceptualized global food governance following a grounded theory approach, whereby the validity of descriptions was constantly updated through comparative methods of document analysis. It followed that global food governance could be identified as a regulatory framework involving non-binding standards and rules, public-private cooperation and self-regulation through guidelines and recommendations, that is ever changing and thus, continues to trigger new forms of governance – through harmonization, cooperation and equivalence methods. Based on these results, it presented a comprehensive legal framework of food safety and quality standards that responds to the underlying research question about the legal implications of food safety and quality standards for international trade law. Six main legal findings conclude with work, and are identified as follows. 141 | 142 →

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