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TBGI Working Paper 13

Public-Private Regime Interactions in Global Food Safety Governance

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Ching-Fu Lin



In response to an apparent decline in global food safety, numerous public and private regulatory initiatives have emerged to restore public confidence. This trend has been particularly marked by the growing influence of private regulators such as multinational food companies, supermarket chains and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), who employ private standards, certification protocols, third- party auditing, and transnational contracting practices. This paper explores how the structure and processes of private food safety governance interact with traditional public governance regimes, focusing on Global Good Agricultural Practices (GlobalGAP) as a primary example of the former. Due to the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of public regulation in the face of global problems, private governance in food safety has gradually replaced states’ command-and-control regulation with more flexible, market-oriented mechanisms. The paper concludes by emphasizing the importance of constructive regime interaction instead of institutional boundary building to global food safety governance. Public and private ordering must each play a role as integral parts of a larger, dynamic and evolving governance complex.


Food safety, Governance, Public-private regime interactions, International trade

Other Versions

A revised version of this Working Paper was published as Lin, Ching-Fu. 2014. “Public Private Interactions in Global Food Safety Governance,” Food and Drug Law Journal 69(2): 143-160.