What's the Beef?: The Contested Governance of European Food Safety

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A series of food-related crises—most notably mad cow disease in Britain,farmer protests in France against American hormone-treated beef, and the European Union's banning of genetically modified food—has turned the regulation of food safety in Europe into a crucible for issues of institutional trust, legitimacy, and effectiveness. What's the Beef? examines European food safety regulation at the national, European, and international levels as a case of "contested governance"—a syndrome of policymaking and political dispute in which not only policy outcomes but aso the fundamental legitimacy of existing institutional arrangements are challenged.The discussions of European food safety regulation in What's the Beef? open into consideration of broader issues, including the growing importance of multilevel regulation (and the possibility of disagreements among different levels of authority), the future of European integration, discontent over trade globalization, the politicization of risk assessment and regulatory science, the regulation of biotechnology, the shifting balance between public and private regulation, agricultural protectionism, and the "transatlantic divide." After addressing the historical, social, and economic context of European food safety regulation, the book examines national efforts at food safety reform in France,Britain, and Germany and such regional efforts as the creation of the European Food Authority. The book also looks at the international dimensions of European food safety regulation, discussing the conflicts between EU safety rules and World Trade Organization rulings that occur because EU rules are more risk averse ("precautionary") than those of its trading partners, including the United States.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"Food issues are at the heart of ongoing policy debates between Europe and the United States, ranging from whether we should have further agricultural subsidies to whether we should grow and eat genetically modified foods. Yet to date there has been little academic analysis explaining why these debates are often left unresolved, often due to a lack of trust, the role of regulatory scandals, or the importance of food culture. This timely book addresses this gap, and hence is essential for anyone interested in US-European policy analysis."—Ragnar E.

Lofstedt, Professor and Director, King's Centre for Risk Management, Kings College London

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262511926
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 3/31/2006
  • Series: Politics, Science, and the Environment
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher Ansell is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley.

David Vogel is Professor in the Department of Political Science and the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. He holds the Solomon Lee Chair in Business Ethics.

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Table of Contents

1 The contested governance of European food safety regulation 3
2 Taste, traditions, and transactions : the public and private regulation of food 35
3 Contentions over food safety : the significance of consumer trust 61
4 Food safety and the structure of the European food industry 81
5 Protesting food : NGOs and political mobilization in Europe 97
6 Is it just about trust? : the partial reform of French food safety regulation 125
7 From precautionary bans to DIY poison tasting : reform of the UK food safety regulation regime 153
8 Governance reform of German food safety regulation : cosmetic or real? 181
9 Regulating food safety risks in the European Union : a comparative perspective 213
10 Food safety and the single European market 237
11 The creation of the European food safety authority 259
12 Protection or protectionism? EU food safety and the WTO 281
13 Compatibility or clash? EU food safety and the WTO 307
14 The asymmetries of governance 329
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