Food Safety, South-North Asymmetries, and the Clash of Regulatory Regimes

This Article explores the globalization of food safety concerns driven by the phenomenon of economic globalization, and the “legalization” of food safety disputes within the rules-based architecture of the World Trade Organization (WTO).  Focusing on the interaction between WTO norms and the treaties of other multilateral organizations, the Article discusses the implications of the “clash of food safety regulatory regimes” for South-North asymmetrical relations between the rich and poor countries.  The Article also discusses global economic diplomacy and the emerging WTO jurisprudence on the Agreement on Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Measures (SPS) disputes.  This Article explores both the perceived and actual marginalization of most developing and least-developed countries by the embedded structural impediments and onerous obligations in food safety disputes.  The Article discusses the European Union’s embargo on fresh fish from East African countries following a cholera outbreak and argues for mutually reinforcing linkages between the SPS and pre-existing food-safety-related norms, standards, and agreements of other multilateral organizations, including the emerging “norm” of the precautionary principle.

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