Together with expected implications on food safety, the European Regulation 178/2002 has important consequences shaping the agrifood sector. This regulation gives latitude to operators in front of specific food safety objectives and promotes self‐control. Private standards are a way of addressing this problem. The paper shows that as soon as producers and retailers have different private standards, a problem of coordination among operators has to be solved. This coordination is important for the sanitary aims but involves strategic aspects too. The coordination problem is tougher when the standards developed by producers and retailers can be considered as two substitutes, even if each operators considers that a coordination of their practices shall be reached.