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Anti-terrorism legislation and food allergen regulation among issues explored in LSE magazine

The latest issue of Risk&Regulation, the magazine of the ESRC Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR) at LSE, is published today, Monday 21 June 2004.

The magazine includes articles examining the global growth and problems of new anti-terrorism legislation, the difficulties of improving food allergen regulation, and an interview with new regulator Ofcom following their recent PSB review.

Who's watching the watchers, asks LSE academic

New anti-terrorism legislation worldwide is affecting how we travel, conduct business, communicate and even how we shop.

Dr Tracy Cohen highlights cases in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and South Africa and suggests that the 'one size fits all' approach to anti-terrorist legislation is inappropriate given national differences, particularly in policing resources. Dr Cohen also argues that 'national security' arguments are in risk of being used to justify measures that are essentially about domestic protectionism. The article also suggests that in standardising approaches, insufficient attention is being paid to the question of risk and institutional design.

Have we got the food allergens problem under control?

Also in Risk&Regulation Issue 7, Dr Henry Rothstein looks at the difficulties facing the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in dealing with increasing concerns about food allergens. Today almost 2 per cent of adults and 5 - 8 per cent of children are allergic to a range of foods, and approximately 10 people die each year; over half of which are due to commercial catering. In the last year, the FSA has tried to improve regulatory controls on food allergens, but Dr Rothstein suggests that food allergy regulation continues to fail for at least three reasons:

  • there are serious gaps in the law, particularly for catered and loose foods
  • there is wide variation in business and consumer behaviour
  • existing regulatory controls are poorly enforced.

At the heart of the matter is a clash in cultural perceptions of risk: some view food allergen risks as a consumer health problem and therefore the responsibility of the consumer; others that food allergies need to be treated as food safety risks, which puts greater responsibility onto business. The FSA needs to resolve that clash if consumers are to be adequately protected.

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Also in the new issue of Risk&Regulation:

  • Ofcom, the new regulator for the UK communications industries, talks to CARR about the media reaction to its Public Service Broadcasting Review, and the difficulties in regulating a fast-changing, innovative sector.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility examines the causes of the CSR phenomenon, and identifies the central challenges and risks facing companies who attempt to engage with a broad range of stakeholders.
  • Testing Times: an examination of the politics and purpose of regulatory experiments; large-scale GM testing and financial options markets.
  • World Economic Forum - a report on the CARR directors contributions to the key debates about new global risks at this year's World Economic Forum, Davos.
  • Risk and Value Management: Kieran Poynter, chairman, PricewaterhouseCoopers, offers advice on how to create and sustain shareholder value through a careful integration with the management of risk.




Risk&Regulation, Issue no.7, Summer 2004 (ISSN 1473-6004) is available in print and online, LSE Magazine archive|

If you wish to subscribe, please contact Sabrina Antâo, tel: 020 7849 4635

Watching the Watchers by Dr Tracy Cohen, BP Postdoctoral Fellow at CARR. Warning! This Regime May Contain Gaps by Dr Henry Rothstein, ESRC Research Fellow at CARR.

Risk&Regulation is the biannual magazine of the ESRC Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR). The magazine contains articles by leading scholars in the fields of risk and regulation and presents the latest research findings and commentary on risk and regulation related fields including managerial governance, financial control, utilities regulation, health, safety, and the environment.

The ESRC Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR) is an interdisciplinary research centre located at the London School of Economics and Political Science. CARR's research focuses on the comparative analysis of the organisational and institutional contexts of risk management and regulatory practice. In addition, CARR acts as a national and international hub for the field of risk and regulation studies through its 'outreach' and 'visitors' programmes.

21 June 2004