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Food Fights: who shapes international food safety standards and who uses them?

Dr Diahanna Post
Brookings Institution and the University of California, Berkeley
Email: DPOST@brookings.edu|

Date: 3 May 2005
: 1:00pm - 2:30pm
: CARR Seminar Room, H615


Conflicts over food safety standards have emerged as one of the most controversial international trade issues in recent years. The World Trade Organization has encouraged countries to adopt food safety standards passed by the international Codex Alimentarius Commission in order to facilitate the removal of non-tariff barriers to trade. How
have these international standards affected domestic regulations? This talk compares the successful influence of an international standard for processing safe food, called Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP), with the much more circumscribed influence of the Codex food additive standard. It examines the uptake of the two standards across four very different regulatory environments: the United States, the European Union, Argentina, and the Dominican Republic. The paper's major finding is that the role of interest groups is of much less importance than theories of political economy would presume, and that in fact structural factors of regulatory legacies and participation in regional integration initiatives is a greater determinant of the observed outcomes.