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Regulatory impact assessment of food safety policies: A preliminary study on alternative EU interventions on dioxins


  • Ragona, Maddalena
  • Mazzocchi, Mario
  • Rose, Martin


Regulatory impact assessment (RIA) for food safety policy interventions faces major obstacles, like scarce data availability and quality, especially when estimating their future effects on consumer health. In this paper, we run a preliminary RIA exercise on alternative EU policy initiatives to address the problem of dioxins in food, through a fuzzy multi-criteria analysis (FMCA) approach. 5 policy options are considered: the status quo situation (non-harmonised and non-efficient application of EU mandatory maximum levels in food and feed across Member States), a regulation imposing stricter (halved) limits, a stricter enforcement of the current regulation, and a co-regulatory version of the fourth option (with industry undertaking their own testing, and public authorities provide auditing and controls in a harmonized effort across all EU countries). A structured qualitative assessment of the considered options is performed regarding 14 categories of potential impacts, with consideration of uncertainty in the assessment. Different weights are assigned to each impact category to reflect the importance of some impacts compared to others. Finally, policy options are compared on a pairwise basis and ranked through a FMCA, considering uncertainties in qualitative assessment and explicit weights assigned to impact categories. Our preliminary results show that, among the 5 policy options considered, the ‘co-regulation’ approach appears to be the preferable option.

Suggested Citation

  • Ragona, Maddalena & Mazzocchi, Mario & Rose, Martin, 2012. "Regulatory impact assessment of food safety policies: A preliminary study on alternative EU interventions on dioxins," 86th Annual Conference, April 16-18, 2012, Warwick University, Coventry, UK 135093, Agricultural Economics Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aesc12:135093

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Munda, G. & Nijkamp, P. & Rietveld, P., 1992. "Comparison of fuzzy sets : a new semantic distance," Serie Research Memoranda 0055, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
    2. Munda, G. & Nijkamp, P. & Rietveld, P., 1995. "Qualitative multicriteria methods for fuzzy evaluation problems: An illustration of economic-ecological evaluation," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 79-97, April.
    3. Munda, Giuseppe, 2004. "Social multi-criteria evaluation: Methodological foundations and operational consequences," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 158(3), pages 662-677, November.
    4. Gamper, C.D. & Turcanu, C., 2007. "On the governmental use of multi-criteria analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 298-307, April.
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    More about this item


    Food safety regulations; Regulatory impact assessment; Multi-criteria analysis; Fuzzy logic; Dioxins; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; D81; Q18;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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