Regulation or deregulation

By Sun Juanjuan

With the ongoing food safety issues, food safety regulation has been strengthened at the national level on the ground of protection of public health. It is certain that as the public interest, the role of the government is indispensable in the interest of public to ensure their health. However, as far as food regulation is concerned, economic consideration is also one of the purposes. In this case, the tough and especially the ever increasingly tougher and tougher food regulatory environment is undoubtedly going to put the burden on the food business. Against this context, the auto regulation has been developed by the food operators to apply certain quality assurance system. Among the others, the legalization of the HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) system has paid way for such development. Furthermore, even with government itself, the limited resources in the human and budget have led to such transfer of regulatory power from public to private. In addition to this, deregulation also has been raised by the food operators in the reason of free choices. The so called free choice in the side of the consumer suggests that with less official regulation especially the pre-market approval, it can leave great space for the food operator to make more novel food for the consumer choice.

It is interesting to note that with the different orientation either for the public health or the free choice, the result whether regulation or deregulation and even no regulation will be generated. As to the organic food, if argued as the free choice of the consumers, it will be free from the regulation of the government in which the certification can be done by the third party rather than government. However, if it is regarded as the issue of public health or environment protection, the role of the government is supposed to be positive. The same issue is also going with the nutrition aimed foods. As we know, the food safety issues have been raised that both under nutrition and over nutrition can give rise to the food borne illness. Therefore, the labeling on the nutrition or the health claim has been regulated by the government in order to ensure the consumers can make the informed choice or not to mislead by the false information. However, the choice how to nurture them is regarded as a matter of the consumer business. In this sense, what can be used in the nutritional foods or what kind of function they are claimed to be can be the business of the food operator in order to win out from the competition. As did in the case of dietary supplement in the U.S.A., the deregulation has been realized in which the FDA has no authority over pre-market approval for the substance using in this kind of food.

It is still arguable whether the intervention of the government in the food safety related nutritional matter is appropriate. The action on the anti-obesity has been carried out in may countries as Denmark become the fist country to restrain trans-fat which can contribute to abdominal obesity and coronary heart disease.

All in all, no matter which kind of regulation will be the trend in the following years, one thing is for sure that the necessity of the government regulation is beyond question. But it is noteworthy that with the changing in the food supply chain that food hazards changing from visible to invisible, the inspection based on the final product or in a way of organoleptic observation is out of date.

A propos sunjuanjuan

Doctorante - Programme Lascaux
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