Was Food Safety Declining?: Assessing the Justification for the US Food Safety Modernisation Act
Food safety regulations limit trade in bioproducts. Every country, however, has a duty to protect its citizens from food safety hazards. If risks are increasing under an existing food safety system then a strengthening of the regulatory regime can be justified, with the inevitable negative impacts on international trade. Alternatively, raising food safety standards may simply be undertaken for reasons of economic protection The US has recently enacted new food safety regulations under the Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA) on the basis that foodborne diseases associated with domestic and imported food were on the rise. An assessment of the official justification of the FSMA is undertaken through an examination of trends in foodborne disease incidence. The results show that while the incidence of disease have increased over recent years, suggesting legitimate reasons for concern, some of the FSMA’s provisions may violate WTO commitments designed to constrain economic protectionism.
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