Bans, tests, and alchemy: Food safety regulation and the Uganda fish export industry
AbstractContemporary regulation of food safety incorporates principles of quality management and systemic performance objectives that used to characterize private standards. Conversely, private standards are covering ground that used to be the realm of regulation. The nature of the two is becoming increasingly indistinguishable. The case study of the Ugandan fish export industry highlights how management methods borrowed from private standards can be applied to public regulation to achieve seemingly conflicting objectives. In the late 1990s, the EU imposed repeated bans on fish imported from Uganda on the basis of food safety concerns. However, the EU did not provide scientific proof that the fish were actually “unsafe.” Rather, the poor performance of Uganda’s regulatory and monitoring system was used as justification. Only by fixing “the system” (of regulations and inspections) and performing the ritual of laboratory testing for all consignments for export to the EU did the Ugandan industry regain its status as a “safe” source of fish. Yet, gaps and inconsistencies abound in the current Ugandan fish safety management system. Some operations are by necessity carried out as “rituals of verification.” Given the importance of microbiological tests and laboratories in the compliance system, “alchemic rituals” provide an appropriate metaphor. These rituals are part and parcel of a model that reassures the EU fish-eating public that all is under control in Uganda from boat to point of export. As a consequence, actual non-compliance from boat to landing site allows the fishery to survive as an artisanal operation. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Springer in its journal Agriculture and Human Values.
Volume (Year): 24 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.springer.com/economics/journal/10460
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Reardon, Thomas & Codron, Jean-Marie & Busch, Lawrence & Bingen, R. James & Harris, Craig, 1999. "Global Change In Agrifood Grades And Standards: Agribusiness Strategic Responses In Developing Countries," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IAMA), vol. 2(03/04).
- Neal H. Hooker & Julie A. Caswell, 1999. "A Framework for Evaluating Non-Tariff Barriers to Trade Related to Sanitary and Phytosanitary Regulation," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 234-246.
- Henson, Spencer & Reardon, Thomas, 2005. "Private agri-food standards: Implications for food policy and the agri-food system," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 241-253, June.
- Henson, Spencer & Loader, Rupert, 2001. "Barriers to Agricultural Exports from Developing Countries: The Role of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Requirements," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 85-102, January.
- Unnevehr, Laurian J., 2000. "Food safety issues and fresh food product exports from LDCs," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 23(3), pages 231-240, September.
- Hatanaka, Maki & Bain, Carmen & Busch, Lawrence, 2005. "Third-party certification in the global agrifood system," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 354-369, June.
- Giovannucci, Daniele & Ponte, Stefano, 2005. "Standards as a new form of social contract? Sustainability initiatives in the coffee industry," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 284-301, June.
- Thorpe, Andy & Bennett, Elizabeth, 2004. "Market-Driven International Fish Supply Chains: The Case of Nile Perch from Africa's Lake Victoria," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IAMA), vol. 7(04).
- Jaffee, Steve & Masakure, Oliver, 2005. "Strategic use of private standards to enhance international competitiveness: Vegetable exports from Kenya and elsewhere," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 316-333, June.
- Stephen Davey & Carol Richards, 2013. "Supermarkets and private standards: unintended consequences of the audit ritual," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 271-281, June.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Guenther Eichhorn) or (Christopher F Baum).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.