Food Safety as a Global Public Good: Is There Underinvestment?

Globalization of the food system is shaped by demand trends that bring about deep integration of agricultural production and marketing. As diets and food quality become more similar around the world, risks are shared across borders, creating global public "goods" and "bads." Examples of globally shared food safety risks include acute risks such as microbial pathogens, as well as chronic risks, such as those arising from pesticide residues or mycotoxins. Food safety is addressed as a global public good through private sector efforts, institutional innovations such as the SPS agreement under the WTO, and trade capacity building efforts to improve food safety management for developing country exports. Data on food safety import violations from the U.S. and the EU show where the global food system is experiencing failures in delivering safe food. Microbial pathogens in seafood are an area of common concern; other problems reflect differences in standards between these two major high income markets. WTO's database on trade facilitation shows that most efforts focus on general capacity building and only a few address specific risks or commodities. Although meeting standards for high income consumers motivates trade facilitation, the spillovers for developing country consumers from such investments could be large.

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Conference Paper/ Presentation
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JEL Codes:
Q13; Q17; Q18; O19
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Plenary Paper

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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