Food Safety and Social Capital: A Double Side Connection
The globalisation of the agri-food system and the growing variety of food products and technologies have made it increasingly difficult for nation-states to regulate food safety and quality practices, giving rise to a shift from public to private governance, essentially in the form of private standards and TPC. The paper suggests that the current shift from public to private intervention calls for a different approach to the analysis of food safety policy, on both descriptive and normative ground. Two different concepts of social capital, one of trust and the other of power, are used in order to assess the welfare effects of the newest trends in food safety policy. Through the lens of social capital it is clear that private standards and TPC are not merely an impartial technical tool able to foster food markets efficiency and safety. Rather they are the means by which powerful actors in the chain discipline people and things in order to accomplish their own objectives
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