The constant request for product and service quality is the major challenge of the 1990s for the food industry. Both developed and developing countries have faced food quality, safety, and nutrition issues to some extent. Everyone in the world deserves the right to have enough and safe food. Food safety and nutrition concerns have gained importance, with an international project initiated in 1997 by FAO called " Food for All". In the developed world, progress can be achieved in the control of food quality through new systems such as HACCP, despite the existence of technical and economic problems. In contrast in developing countries, and especially in the least developed ones, having enough and safe food for ordinary citizens is a distant target to attain, as they try to meet the essential needs of their citizens. Despite differences between the food safety issues of the developed and developing world, such as in infrastructure, the structure of the food industry, the awareness of consumers, and income level and distribution, developing countries have to improve their food safety not only in order to supply safe food to domestic consumers but also to be viable in the international food market. From the point of view of the costs and benefits of the control systems, firms have often faced high financial burdens in implementation of quality control systems. In the developing countries, it is often impossible to enforce a food safety regulation such as HACCP. Mandated food safety regulation without any strict control (as in the situation in the developing countries) may give rise to a kind of black market. Unqualified or uncontrolled foods are sold at a cheaper price to consumers who cannot afford to buy at high prices. This kind of market can be called an inverse or dual black market. Especially in a market structure where small firms selling their product at the retail level dominate, the opportunity for an inverse black market arises because consumers who cannot afford to pay a high price for the qualified food have tended to buy lower quality and cheaper foods. Therefore it may often be infeasible to apply these sophisticated control systems in developing countries without any governmental intervention and financial support. It may be expected that the aggregate net benefits to society may be great and positive. However, in practice it is not only a question of benefit. Especially in the developing world, the low level of income and its unequal distribution, inadequate infrastructure, low education level and fragmented structure of the market are also important determinants of implementation. International food aid programs should be changed to assist in developing a sound food industry, including quality control systems.


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