The Paradox of Standard Setting in Globalized Agri-Food Production System
Globalization has engendered increased complexity in the modern society. This complexity penetrates almost every aspect of our life. In the context of food systems, globalized food supply chains have created greater challenges for assuring food safety, with myriad actors, who are economically, socially and culturally diverse, involved in the production and distribution processes. To manage such complexity, food safety standards have been established in order to assure the public interest. Nevertheless, food safety scandals persist on a global scale, including both developed and developing countries. This has revealed a problematic system of safety standard setting as well as an urge to re-examine the current food safety system. Much of the discussion on food safety standards focuses on their impact on trade as non-tariff barriers in the era of intensified globalization. Relatively few studies have examined food safety standards in the context of globalized value chain production and the implications for safety assurance. This thesis explores the dynamics and tensions between globalized value chain production and safety standard setting in the US broiler industry between 1980s and 2010s. By adopting a multi-dimensional qualitative method, combining historical analysis, institutional analysis and interviews, this thesis maps the critical food safety points within the US broiler value chain and the related safety standards, and identifies the gaps between the economic benefits of value chain production and the public goal of food safety assurance.
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