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Abstract

Fischler's Reform of the Cap has introduced economic support to reinforce the range of instruments aimed at promoting food quality. Before the Reform, European Union market intervention for food quality was confined to the regulatory ground. The paper discusses the economic justifications for financial aid in the case of quality improvement and in the case of information circulation and provision of assurance to consumers. The possibility to add new Quality Schemes at the existing ones is criticized because of the information overcrowding. Furthermore, it is argued that a race to the bottom mechanism could be enforced as a result of the introduction of the possibility to settle Quality Schemes on a national basis. The paper also shows that the unsatisfactory functioning of existing Quality Schemes could be better faced by simplification of the whole quality certification system; by a communication effort at a general level and not only for single Quality Schemes; and by a better coordination of the different strategies of the different stakeholders in the food chains.

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