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Food safety and ethical responsibility in a globalized world - the role of private standards

Carlsson, C. LU (2013) In The Ethics of Consumption: The Citizen, the Market and the Law p.471-475
Abstract

Rules and guidelines on food safety and ethical aspects of production, such as animal welfare and labour conditions, have traditionally been a matter of national legislation. However, in recent years, powerful retailers and food processors have started to impose requirements on downstream producers through private standards. Since private standards are used by private actors and not by states, they are not bound by existing trade rules. This means that private standards can include requirements relating to ethical aspects such as animal welfare and environmental protection on both imports and domestic production, and that they thereby have potential to make production conditions more equal in different countries. Through a case-study... (More)

Rules and guidelines on food safety and ethical aspects of production, such as animal welfare and labour conditions, have traditionally been a matter of national legislation. However, in recent years, powerful retailers and food processors have started to impose requirements on downstream producers through private standards. Since private standards are used by private actors and not by states, they are not bound by existing trade rules. This means that private standards can include requirements relating to ethical aspects such as animal welfare and environmental protection on both imports and domestic production, and that they thereby have potential to make production conditions more equal in different countries. Through a case-study approach, the study investigates whether private standards harmonize production conditions across countries. Interviews are performed with three companies active on the Swedish and international food markets to understand which private standards are used and what requirements are made in these. The findings point to the existence of two related, but different, layers of private standards. Standards that are harmonized and used by many actors contain some requirements on ethical responsibility, but focus mainly on food safety. On the other hand, requirements on production methods, relating to animal welfare, environmental protection and labour conditions, are more heterogenic, since maintaining non-harmonized private standards within these areas is an important competitive tool for the individual firm. This, in turn, implies that they have less scope for harmonizing production conditions across countries. Nevertheless, firms do make requirements also within these areas, and the study thereby indicates that the private sector and the companies on the market are important actors in formulating requirements on the inclusion of ethical responsibility in production.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Diet cost, Energy density, Obesity, State intervention
in
The Ethics of Consumption: The Citizen, the Market and the Law
pages
5 pages
publisher
Springer Netherlands
external identifiers
  • Scopus:84960222641
ISBN
9789086862313
DOI
10.3920/978-90-8686-784-4_74
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
ace3063e-55f5-488c-a97e-9614d81d0db4
date added to LUP
2016-10-07 11:12:56
date last changed
2016-10-07 11:12:56
@misc{ace3063e-55f5-488c-a97e-9614d81d0db4,
  abstract     = {<p>Rules and guidelines on food safety and ethical aspects of production, such as animal welfare and labour conditions, have traditionally been a matter of national legislation. However, in recent years, powerful retailers and food processors have started to impose requirements on downstream producers through private standards. Since private standards are used by private actors and not by states, they are not bound by existing trade rules. This means that private standards can include requirements relating to ethical aspects such as animal welfare and environmental protection on both imports and domestic production, and that they thereby have potential to make production conditions more equal in different countries. Through a case-study approach, the study investigates whether private standards harmonize production conditions across countries. Interviews are performed with three companies active on the Swedish and international food markets to understand which private standards are used and what requirements are made in these. The findings point to the existence of two related, but different, layers of private standards. Standards that are harmonized and used by many actors contain some requirements on ethical responsibility, but focus mainly on food safety. On the other hand, requirements on production methods, relating to animal welfare, environmental protection and labour conditions, are more heterogenic, since maintaining non-harmonized private standards within these areas is an important competitive tool for the individual firm. This, in turn, implies that they have less scope for harmonizing production conditions across countries. Nevertheless, firms do make requirements also within these areas, and the study thereby indicates that the private sector and the companies on the market are important actors in formulating requirements on the inclusion of ethical responsibility in production.</p>},
  author       = {Carlsson, C.},
  isbn         = {9789086862313},
  keyword      = {Diet cost,Energy density,Obesity,State intervention},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {08},
  pages        = {471--475},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x7ce6130)},
  series       = {The Ethics of Consumption: The Citizen, the Market and the Law},
  title        = {Food safety and ethical responsibility in a globalized world - the role of private standards},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.3920/978-90-8686-784-4_74},
  year         = {2013},
}