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Coordination for traceability in the food chain. A critical appraisal of European regulation


  • Christophe Charlier


  • Egizio Valceschini


Risk management has become a central issue in sanitary crises. Agro food firms have devised organizational responses to sanitary risks, usually implying better traceability. European Regulation 178/2002 established mandatory traceability. This paper provides a critical appraisal of the European Regulation on traceability. The analysis characterizes the mandatory traceability established and evaluates whether the information provided facilitates the withdrawal of targeted products promised by the European Regulation. It demonstrates the importance of traceability practices and sets out the responsibilities of food business operators as defined in the regulation. This regulation is seen as creating economic incentives for more stringent traceability. The problem of private operators’ coordination in relation to traceability practices is explained and the question of whether this problem con be solved by the strict application of European Regulation 178/2002 id addressed. The limits of the European Regulation in this context are demonstrated and solutions are proposed.
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Suggested Citation

  • Christophe Charlier & Egizio Valceschini, 2008. "Coordination for traceability in the food chain. A critical appraisal of European regulation," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 1-15, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:ejlwec:v:25:y:2008:i:1:p:1-15 DOI: 10.1007/s10657-007-9038-2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bullock, D. S. & Desquilbet, M., 2002. "The economics of non-GMO segregation and identity preservation," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 81-99, February.
    2. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Rey, Patrick, 1994. "Renegotiation Design with Unverifiable Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 257-282, March.
    3. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288817, June.
    4. Hennessy, David A. & Roosen, Jutta & Jensen, Helen H., 2003. "Systemic failure in the provision of safe food," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 77-96, February.
    5. David A. Hennessy & Jutta Roosen & John A. Miranowski, 2001. "Leadership and the Provision of Safe Food," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(4), pages 862-874.
    6. Golan, Elise H. & Krissoff, Barry & Kuchler, Fred & Calvin, Linda & Nelson, Kenneth E. & Price, Gregory K., 2004. "Traceability In The U.S. Food Supply: Economic Theory And Industry Studies," Agricultural Economics Reports 33939, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    7. Souza Monteiro, Diogo M. & Caswell, Julie A., 2005. "The Economics of Traceability for Multi-Ingredient Products: A Network Approach," 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI 19143, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    8. Starbird, S. Andrew & Amanor-Boadu, Vincent, 2004. "Traceability, Inspection, And Food Safety," 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO 20381, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
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    Cited by:

    1. Saak, Alexander E., 2016. "Traceability and reputation in supply chains," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 177(C), pages 149-162.
    2. Banterle, Alessandro & Souza Monteiro, Diogo M. & Stranieri, Stefanella, 2009. "Does traceability play a role in retailer’s strategies for private labels?," 83rd Annual Conference, March 30-April 1, 2009, Dublin, Ireland 50933, Agricultural Economics Society.
    3. Resende-Filho, Moises & Buhr, Brian, 2007. "Economics of traceability for mitigation of food recall costs," MPRA Paper 3650, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Danielle Galliano & Luis Orozco, 2013. "New Technologies and Firm Organization: The Case of Electronic Traceability Systems in French Agribusiness," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(1), pages 22-47, January.
    5. Martino, Gaetano & Bavorovà, Miroslava, 2014. "An Analysis of Food Safety Private Investments Drivers in the Italian Meat Sector," 2014 International European Forum, February 17-21, 2014, Innsbruck-Igls, Austria 199366, International European Forum on Innovation and System Dynamics in Food Networks.
    6. Danielle Galliano & Luis Orozco, 2011. "Les déterminants industriels et spatiaux du processus d'adoption de technologies : Le cas des systèmes de traçabilité dans les firmes industrielles françaises," Géographie, économie, société, Lavoisier, vol. 13(2), pages 135-163.
    7. Paméla Baillette & Bernard Fallery & Naoual Rahali, 2012. "Les systèmes de traçabilité dans la filière viti-vinicole : quelle opportunité pour les coopératives?," Post-Print hal-00822040, HAL.
    8. Shi Zheng & Pei Xu & Zhigang Wang & Shunfeng Song, 2012. "Willingness to pay for traceable pork: evidence from Beijing, China," China Agricultural Economic Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 4(2), pages 200-215, May.

    More about this item


    Traceability; Risk management; Food safety; European regulation; I18; K32; Q18;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy


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