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Science and Power in Global Food Regulation: The Rise of the Codex Alimentarius


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The emergence of the global administrative sector and its new forms of knowledge production, expert rationality, and standardization, remains an understudied topic in science studies. Using a coproductionist theoretical framework, we argue that the mutual construction of epistemic and legal authority across international organizations has been critical for constituting and stabilizing a global regime for the regulation of food safety. The authors demonstrate how this process has also given rise to an authoritative framework for risk analysis touted as "scientifically rigorous" but embodying particular value choices regarding health, environment, and the dispensation of regulatory power. Finally, the authors trace how enrollment of the Codex Alimentarius in World Trade Law has heightened institutional dilemmas around legitimacy and credibility in science advice at the global level. Taken together, the case illustrates the importance of attending to the iterative construction of law and science in the constitution of new global administrative regimes.
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Science, Technology & Human
The online version of this article can be found at:
DOI: 10.1177/0162243909334242
May 2009
2010 35: 356 originally published online 15Science Technology Human Values
David E. Winickoff and Douglas M. Bushey
Codex Alimentarius
Science and Power in Global Food Regulation: The Rise of the
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Science and Power
in Global Food
Regulation: The Rise
of the Codex Alimentarius
David E. Winickoff
and Douglas M. Bushey
The emergence of the global administrative sector and its new forms of
knowledge production, expert rationality, and standardization, remains an
understudied topic in science studies. Using a coproductionist theoretical
framework, we argue that the mutual construction of epistemic and legal
authority across international organizations has been critical for constitut-
ing and stabilizing a global regime for the regulation of food safety. The
authors demonstrate how this process has also given rise to an authorita-
tive framework for risk analysis touted as ‘scientifically rigorous’ but
embodying particular value choices regarding health, environment, and the
dispensation of regulatory power. Finally, the authors trace how enrollment
of the Codex Alimentarius in World Trade Law has heightened institutional
dilemmas around legitimacy and credibility in science advice at the global
level. Taken together, the case illustrates the importance of attending to the
iterative construction of law and science in the constitution of new global
administrative regimes.
Codex Alimentarius, food regulation, WTO, regulatory science, Adminis-
trative Law
University of California, Berkeley
Corresponding Author:
David E. Winickoff, 115 Giannini Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720.
Science, Technology, & Human Values
35(3) 356-381
ª The Author(s) 2010
Reprints and permission:
DOI: 10.1177/0162243909334242
at SAGE Publications on October 27, 2010sth.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Increasing global interdependence in such fields as trade, security, develop-
ment, and environment has given rise to a new layer of transnational regu-
lation and administration. As a result, new international bodies have
emerged with varying degrees of authority to direct the regulatory choices
of nation states (Kingsbury, Krisch, and Stewart, 2005). Scholars in law and
international relations have begun to develop sustained interest in this glo-
bal administrative sector and the powerful role of knowledge therein (e.g.,
Haas 1989; Esty 2002). Nevertheless, it has been scholars in science and
technology studies (STS) who have identified the special importance of the
epistemic within these international institutions. This work has connected
the development of global knowledge-making, the politics of expertise, and
standardized forms of reasoning with themes of legitimation and power dis-
tribution (e.g., Jasanoff and Martello 2004; Featherstone and Venn 2006;
Miller 2007). There is less scholarship examining the processes by which
scientific authority and legal authority work simultaneously to bring global
knowledge regimes into being.
The international trading regime and its associated regulatory bodies are
a key site of inquiry in this regard. The Codex Alimentarius Commission
(Codex) is an international body based in Rome that promulgates standards,
guidelines, and codes of practice in the realm of food safety. Established by
the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the World Health Orga-
nization (WHO) in 1963, the power of the Codex in standardizing the reg-
ulation of health, trade, and environment changed radically in 1994 when
the World Trade Organization (WTO) elevated its legal status within the
global trading regime. Under the new Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS)
Agreement, WTO member states can sue other members for maintaining
food and environmental safety standards that are stricter than Codex stan-
dards. Legally, this makes the Codex an authoritative international agency
for ‘food additives, veterinary drug and pesticide residues, contaminants,
methods of analysis and sampling, and codes and guidelines of hygienic
practice’ (WTO 1994, Annex A(3)(a)). In the process, the Codex has
become an important exemplar of a global administrative system that is
enlarging its reach and power.
The political stakes of attending to the developmental process of the
Codex, an example of what Featherstone and Venn call a ‘circuit of global
knowledge’ (2006) and what Miller calls an ‘international knowledge insti-
tution’ (2007) are high: in the upcoming years, different players will struggle
in this forum to normalize particular accounts of food safety and environment
and standardize particular regulatory rationalities. More generally, a better
understanding of the interplay of global knowledge institutions and emergent
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regulatory regimes could help produce more effective and acceptable global
governance in crucial domains such as environment and health.
Primary documents produced by the WTO, the Codex itself, and its sci-
entific advisory committees illustrate that particular interactions of political
and expert authority have been instrumental in shaping the developmental
trajectory of the Codex during and after its uptake into WTO law. First, the
emergence of a global food safety regime has relied on a process of mutual
legitimation across organizations and their differing types of authority.
Requiring a solution to the difficult political problem of how to promote
regulatory convergence, the WT O relied critically on a particu lar ideology
of re gulatory science and the Codex’s ex pert authority. In return, the
Codex’s invocation of the WTO’s legal power proved crucial in producing
a global ‘science-bas ed framework for risk analysis. Second, shifts in
Codex’s procedures on standard-making and science advi ce reve al an insti-
tutional struggle to preserve the Codex’s identity as a technocratic agency
even as its global power suddenly expanded. Taken together, the case
illustrates the importance of a ttending to the iterative construction of legal
and epistemic authority in understanding the constitution of global regula-
tory power.
Coproduction and the Global Food Safety Regime
In the last fifteen years, the Codex transitioned from a largely invisible stan-
dard-setting body to a global regulatory agency, enshrining an authoritative
discourse of ‘risk analysis.’ To help explore how this occurred, it is useful
to draw upon what STS scholars have called ‘the coproductionist idiom.’
Practices and norms traditionally organized under the two discrete headings
of science and politics often interact closely to produce hybrid regimes of
knowledge and power (Jasanoff 2004). STS scholars working in this idiom
have long shown how the administrative agency at the state level has
been an important site of boundary work, standardiza tion, and de liberative
discourses that powerfully order our world (e.g., Jasanoff 1990; Hajer
1995; Porter 1995). The analytic s of coproduction have also been useful for
unpacking the modalities of knowledge-based institutions in global gov-
ernan ce (e.g., Fogel 2004; Miller 2004). So too does coproduction offer
a useful theoretical framework fo r understanding the new global adminis-
trative space produced by the WTO and the Codex: this lens rev eals crucial
dynamics in the emergence of the Codex and its formalized regime of
risk analysis.
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Birth of a Global Agency
The SPS Agreement has been described as one of the most ambitious achieve-
ments of the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations that created the WTO, in
part because of its goal of rationalizing food safety regulation across its mem-
ber states (Charnovitz 2000). Although the primary purpose of the General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) is to prevent discriminatory trade
practices (see e.g., Weiler 2000), negotiators in the domain of food safety
aimed at a further substantive goal of rationalization and harmonization of
food standards across nations. Producing convergent standards was seen as
an important way of promoting the freer exchange of food across borders,
while still acknowledging the necessity of state-based food safety regulation.
The final text of the SPS Agreement reveals how science itself became the
primary ideological resource for achieving rationalization (Wirth 1994;
Walker 2003). Under Article 2 of the Agreement, members must ensure that
any sanitary or phytosanitary measure ‘is based on scientific principles and is
not maintained without sufficient scientific evidence’ (WTO 1994, Article
2.2). Relying on the authority of science to discipline food safety regulation
took pressure off lawyers and delegates, by appealing to a supposedly neutral
arbiter to do the work of harmonization (Walker 2003).
Seeking acceptable means of harmonizing standards across WTO mem-
ber states, SPS negotiators looked around the world for existing interna-
tional food standards.
They found the Codex, a little known bureau of
the FAO and WHO that had been producing voluntary food safety standards
on pesticide residues, additives, etc., since the 1960s. Accordingly, within
the SPS Agreement, the Codex was designated one of three ‘relevant inter-
national organizations’ around whose standards the signatories would
attempt to harmonize (WTO 1994, Article 3.4).
The guidelines and recom-
mendations of Codex, if adopted by nations, would ‘be deemed to be nec-
essary to protect human, animal, or plant life or health, and presumed to be
consistent with the relevant provisions of this Agreement and of GATT
1994’ (WTO 1994, Article 3.2). To satisfy the core science-based obliga-
tions, WTO members would have to either adopt existing international
health and safety standards or justify deviant measures with risk assessment
and ‘sufficient scientific evidence’ (WTO 1994, Articles 3.2, 5).
The SPS negotiating history and text evince a strong commitment to a
technocratic paradigm of global regulation that is in tension with the tradi-
tional regulatory sovereignty of states. Although the GATT-WTO system as
a whole may represent the ‘the high water mark of the twentieth-century
commitment to technocratic decisonmaking’ (Esty 2002, 10), the SPS
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Agreement stands as perhaps the most extreme example. The effort to ratio-
nalize food safety regulation presents a clear challenge to the principles of
state sovereignty in a sphere of ‘social regulation.’ Where political legiti-
macy may be insufficient, a legitimacy based on technocratic rationality
and the universal claims of science is implicitly offered in its place.
Just how and why negotiators across the trading community came to
agree on the ‘science-based’ SPS text is not a trivial question, especially
because individual European states had been resisting the introduction of
American meat products containing hormones based mostly on consumer
concerns. Achieving agreement on these provisions was no small feat, as
sovereign member states were clearly risking the loss of regulatory discre-
tion to the dictates of a newly constituted global regulatory rationality. The
United States was pushing science as a means of trumping consumer-driven
bans on beef and milk hormones in European states. Certainly, the fact that
Europe was being represented by the European Commission (EC)—an
entity that was engaged in its own difficult project of harmonizing ‘social
regulation’ across EU Member States (Joerges 1997)—had something to
do with its willingness to embrace scientific universalism and risk analysis
as a harmonizing force within the SPS Agreement. Given the alignment of
interests across the United States and the EC, rationalization through risk
assessment was a plausible enough ideological concept around which to
forge agreement.
The SPS negotiators were able to find a mutually accep-
table solution to the difficult problems of regulatory harmonization by iden-
tifying a universalist framework of epistemic warrant, namely risk analysis
and enrolling an international regulatory body supposedly devoted to it.
The central coproductionist point is this: although the trading regime
claimed to be adopting pre-existing science-based standards at the interna-
tional level, the WTO’s legal and executive power was necessary to trans-
form the Codex into a global agency that could generate such standards. The
Codex had been an international body with fairly low visibility (e.g., Salter
1988; Hu
ller and Maier 2006). As its increase in power became imminent,
the Codex began acting with an invigorated mandate and sense of itself as a
‘science-based’ organization.
It was the rising trading system that drove the development of new norms
and practices for the management of knowledge, expertise, and evidence
in regulatory decision making at the Codex—in short, its regulatory
epistemology. Derivative of the broader concept of ‘civic epistemology’
(Jasanoff 2004), regulatory epistemology points to embedded ways of
knowing, standards of proof and credibility within regulatory cultures at
different scales of governance. As it became clear by 1991 that Codex
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would play a significant role in the trade regime (FAO/WHO 1991; Victor
1999), major Codex actors agreed that it would have to formalize its science-
based account of food safety regulation (CAC 1991). A patchwork of
different risk analysis processes had come to operate in different areas of
Codex regulation before the conclusion of the Uruguay Round (Hathaway
1993; Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation 1995; Jukes 2000). Moves to
standardize these procedures were motivated directly by the anticipated out-
come of the Uruguay round: there was a general recognition that the Codex
standard-setting process needed to be more consistent, science-based,
and transparent (see e.g. CAC 1991; FAO/WHO 1991; McNally 1991;
Jukes 2000).
This move to shore up Codex science crystallized amidst controversies
over growth-promoting hormones in beef cattle and recombinant Bovine
Somatotropin (BST; Jukes 2000). In 1991, a Codex vote to reject standards
on four meat hormones (CAC 1991) elicited an aggressive response from
the United States.
Following this vote, the U.S. delegation submitted a
strong proposal that all ‘draft standards recommended by a Codex Commit-
tee ... based on thorough scientific assessments by JECFA [Joint Expert
Committee on Food Additives]’ be universally adopted, ‘[u]nless new sci-
entific information is presented by a delegation which calls into question the
validity of the draft standard’ (CCExec 1992, para. 56). The U.S. policy
paper specified how Codex might make good on its pre-existing agreement
to review ‘all Codex standards as to their current relevance and sound sci-
entific basis, with a view to facilitating international trade’ (CAC 1991,
app. 4, para. 10; FAO/WHO 1991).
As the debate about the role of science in food regulation was playing out
in the context of the Uruguay round and bovine ‘production aids,’ it began
to merge with discussions about general methodology, especially the devel-
opment of more formalized procedures for risk analysis. The Codex Exec-
utive Committee, when considering the U.S. proposal mentioned above,
wrote that ‘[t]he draft GATT/Uruguay Round SPS decision, which invoked
the concepts of risk assessment, equivalency and transparency, was ...
very relevant in terms of making scientific determinations’ (CCExec
1992, para. 57). After the issue was forwarded to the Codex Committee
on General Principles (CCGP 1992, 1994) and back, the Executive Com-
mittee began to explicitly review the ‘implications of the Uruguay Round
Agreements for Codex.’ This review concluded, inter alia, that ‘scientific
analysis and advice, together with risk analysis, should form the basis of
the development of standards’ and that ‘a consistent approach to risk
management in the specification of Codex Standards ... be developed and
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documented’ (CCExec 1994, para. 22-23). To be sure, risk analysis was not
a new concept within the Codex. However, throughout the 1990s, the trade
negotiations would push along the process of standardizing it at Codex.
By March 1995, just months after the new WTO came into being, there was
self-recognition that its new status in WTO law had transformed the Codex
from a voluntary standard-setting organization to a global agency. At that
point, Codex convened the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on the Appli-
cation of Risk Analysis to Food Standards Issues, which noted how,
[f]or the first time, an international trade agreement, the SPS Agreement, expli-
citly recognizes that for establishment of rational harmonized regulations and
standards for food in international trade a rigorous scientific process is
required. Consequently, for food, CAC [the Codex Alimentarius Commission]
is required to provide the scientific framework on which adherence to the SPS
Agreement will be based. (Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation 1995, 5)
What is so interesting here is that the Codex had not developed a formalized
‘scientific framework’ for food regulation prior to this moment. In fact, the
consultation recommended ‘several changes in Codex practices to foster a
harmonized approach within Codex, consistent with science-based risk
assessment’ (Id.at1).
It is precisely the trading regime’s power, with its new legislation and
new binding adjudication system, and the delegation of that authority, that
enabled the Codex to define the parameters of sound science for regulation.
Just as the WTO addressed problems of legitimacy in the legal/economic
order by identifying a common trust in scientific rigor and existing interna-
tional expertise, so too the Codex addressed difficult questions regarding
the role of science in regulatory process through legitimation received from
the WTO. In effect, the SPS negotiators and the trading regime had to pro-
duce the very science-based agency it had identified as its foundation.
The New Risk Analysis Regime
The formation of the new food-risk regime deserves close tracking, for it
helped establish a regulatory epistemology with truly global scope and
authority. As we will see, the sustenance of the Codex’s newly vested
authority necessitated newly formalized strategies of purification and
boundary work (Jasanoff 1990; Gieryn 1999). Furthermore, boundary-
drawing rules helped stabilize a particular stance on the science-policy
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relationship, facilitating the more rapid formation of standards, but margin-
alizing concerns that did not fit neatly into the risk framework.
The process for Codex-wide Development and Application of Risk Anal-
ysis Principles and Guidelines began in 1997 as an attempt to draft uniform
standards for application both within the Codex and by member countries.
Agreement proved difficult on such broad principles, so the two processes
split. The Working Principles for Risk Analysis for Application in the
Framework of the Codex Alimentarius (FAO/WHO 2006a) were adopted
in 2003,
while the Working Principles for Risk Analysis for Application
by Governments were finally completed in 2007 (CAC 2007).
In both sets of principles, risk analysis is broken up into three ‘distinct
but closely linked’ components: risk assessment, risk management, and
risk communication. Risk assessment is defined as a scientifically based
process of moving from hazard identification to risk characterization. Risk
management, however, is the process of weighing policy alternatives and
selecting the appropriate prevention and control options. Risk communica-
tion involves both communication between risk assessors and risk managers
and communication with other outside parties (CCGP 2007). The relation-
ship between risk assessors and risk managers should be functionally sepa-
rate, ‘in order to ensure the scientific integrity of the risk assessment ...’’
(FAO/WHO 2006a, 104). However, it is recognized that the relationship
between the two should be interactive, even iterative. For example, it is
recognized that a ‘risk assessment policy’ will have to be developed trans-
parently to guide ‘choice of options and associated judgments for their
application at appropriate decision points in the risk assessment such that
the scientific integrity of the process is maintained.’ (FAO/WHO 2006a,
44) This statement acknowledges the value judgments that frequently
underpin the conduct of risk assessment, and that these judgments should
be jointly developed by technical and policy people.
A number of evaluative points about this global framework for food
safety are in order. By emphasizing risk analysis as an interactive and itera-
tive process across its three parts, the Codex risk principles avoid a stark
conceptual separation of technical and political phases in risk analysis that
can tend to hide value-based decisions within the risk assessment phase
(Winickoff et al., 2005, 93-106). Nevertheless, the division between assess-
ment and management remain, which may render particular value choices
more opaque.
Furthermore, by adopting risk as the single dominant grammar of global
food regulation, certain governance biases may be introduced. Risk discourse
implicitly empowers some people as experts while marginalizing others as
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inarticulate or irrelevant (Jasanoff 1999). Two groups who regularly find it
difficult to express their interests in risk discourse are developing countries
and consumers: developing countries due to the lack of access to measure-
ment equipment and other technologies of quantification (see e.g., CAC
2007, 194) and consumers due to difficulties framing cultural, religious, and
other concerns not strictly related to safety (e.g., Bureau and Marette 2000).
Finally, the adoption of the risk analysis framework tends to supplant
other potential frameworks and has marginalized environmental, economic,
and other potential factors in food safety regulation. For instance, the SPS
agreement together with the newly entrenched framework at Codex has also
suppressed mention of the precautionary principle, arguably because of the
difficulty of standardizing precautionary approaches (Post 2006). For
instance, the Principles and Guidelines for Microbiological Risk Manage-
ment, mired in debate for a decade with the use of the term precaution as
one of the major sticking points, was finally adopted at the 2007 session
of the Codex, with no mention of the term
(CCFH 2006; CAC 2007).
The trajectory of the debate surrounding the so-called ‘other legitimate
factors’ tends to corroborate this point. In 1995, a general decision of the
Commission entitled Statements of Principle Concerning the Role of Sci-
ence in the Codex Decision-Making Process and the Extent to which Other
Factors Are Taken Into Account states that ‘food standards ... shall be
based on the principle of sound scientific analysis and evidence ...,’ but
that the ‘Codex Alimentarius will have regard, where appropriate, to other
legitimate factors relevant for the health protection of consumers and for
the protection of fair practices in food trade’ (FAO/WHO 2006a, 164). The
‘other legitimate factors’ language emerged against the backdrop of the
beef and milk hormones controversies, from the insistence by certain
delegations, led by a number of European countries, that issues beyond
science—particularly environmental impacts, economic feasibility, and
ethical concerns—be considered relevant to food safety.
However, in the
last half decade, the debate surrounding other legitimate factors has begun
to fade as risk standardization has advanced.
The foregoing analysis suggests that far from taking up a pre-existing
regime of science-based food regulation, the WTO actually brought one
into being. Discursive choices and analytical methodologies often form crit-
ical elements in institutional efforts to shore up new structures of technical
authority (Porter 1995; Jasanoff 2005). The Codex case corroborates this
insight. With the WTO’s help, risk analysis has become the very grammar
of Codex decision making and of the emergent global regulatory regime for
food. Although parties may differ in their positions about what should be
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included in a risk analysis, the idea that standards must be based on a risk
analysis is now unquestioned (see e.g., CAC 1997, 162).
Stabilization of Codex Decision-Making Procedures
As others have noted, the new role of Codex in the trading regime trans-
formed its ethos from more of a ‘gentleman’s club,’ to an overtly politi-
cized organization (e.g., Powell 1997; Veggeland and Borgen 2002). Less
noted, however, have been Codex efforts to negotiate a difficult dilemma
wrought by these changes: how to stabilize its primary identity as a techni-
cal rather than political agency, even as its enhanced legal status heightened
its political import. In its struggles to rediscover procedural normality and
to implement geographical representation on expert committees, we see the
Codex staking its claim as a bona fide global agency through the develop-
ment of hybrid procedures mixing technocratic and democratic elements.
Yet, we also see continuous self-positioning as a science-based organization
amidst the increasingly difficult political work it must accomplish.
The Codex, whose membership currently stands at 181 nations, is open
to all Member Nations and Associate Members of FAO and/or WHO. All
nations are entitled to send one representative with an attendant delegation
to annual commission-wide meetings. The commission elects a chair and
three vice-chairs, and each of the seven Codex geographic regions elects
their own coordinator and regional representative to the Executive Board.
These fourteen regional representatives, plus the chair and vice-chairs make
up the Executive Board. In addition, other subsidiary bodies, called com-
mittees, focus on specific subjects or commodities and do the work of draft-
ing or finalizing standards for submission to the Commission as a whole.
General Subject Committees perform ‘horizontal’ work that applies across
the board to all commodity standards. The CCGP, Codex Committee on
Food Additives (CCFA), and Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary
Drugs in Foods (CCRVDF) are examples of General Subject Committees.
Commodity Committees perform the ‘vertical’ work of developing stan-
dards for specific foods. For example, the Codex Committee on Fats and
Oils, and the Codex Committee on Milk and Milk Products are Commodity
Committees (FAO/WHO 2006a).
A number of standing and ad hoc expert committees, coordinated by the
FAO and WHO, support the work of the Codex. The most important of
these committees are the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food
Additives (JECFA), the Joint FAO/WHO Meetings on Pesticide Residues
(JMPR), and the Joint FAO/WHO Meetings on Microbiological Risk
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Assessment (JEMRA). Although not officially part of the Codex, the activ-
ities of these committees are coordinated by the FAO and WHO to advise
the Codex as needed. The process for drafting and approving a new Codex
standard is shown in figure 1.
The WTO-Wrought Disruption in Codex Procedure
The formal decision rule within the Codex is ‘one country, one vote,’ and a
majority of attending members can set standards and a two-thirds majority
can make changes to the organization’s procedural structure (FAO/WHO
2006a). Indeed, the use of voting indicates how the Codex has been, from the
beginning, a hybrid space of politics and technocratic expertise with explicit
mandates to consider both science and economic impacts as it develops stan-
dards (Salter 1988). Nevertheless, prior to the enactment of the SPS Agree-
ment, consensus in decision making both within the Codex and its
scientific advisory committees was the strong customary norm. Nations did
not always agree about the standards being debated. Nevertheless, the non-
binding nature of the regulations created no incentive for nations to block
them by disagreeing. Rather, they simply abstained from voting, allowing
standards to pass, but refrained from implementing them domestically.
The passage of the SPS agreement changed decision-making practices
starting in the 1990s, as outcomes there took on new legal import within
trade law. Where decision by consensus previously reigned, bursts of voting
occurred in 1995 and again in 1997 for a number of meat hormones, a stan-
dard for natural mineral waters, and guidelines for food import and export
inspection certification systems (see figure 2). In the immediately post-SPS
Codex, it seemed, abstention was no longer sensible behavior for a dissent-
ing nation. A 2002 FAO-and-WHO-sponsored evaluation of the Codex
traced these changes to the trading regime (Traill et al. 2002).
This newfound legal status not only made compromise more difficult, it
brought previously enacted standards into question: would standards
enacted before the Codex’s uptake into WTO law provide the legal default
standard, and would they be enforced even when the challenged country
voted against the standard? These issues emerged explicitly within WTO
litigation. In EC Beef Hormones, the first case brought under the SPS
Agreement, the EC argued before the Panel that,
the Codex and the SPS Agreement did not interact properly, because a member
of Codex, which had different views about other considerations (e.g. health
concerns of consumers) and in good faith abstained from blocking the adoption
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Decision to
draft standard
Codex Alimentarius
Codex Secretariat
Form draft
Codex Subsidiary
Approve draft
Codex Alimentarius
Codex Subsidiary
Executive Committee
Codex Alimentarius
Propose draft
Codex Secretariat
from members
from members
Figure 1. The Codex Standard-Setting Process
Source: Adapted from (FAO/WHO 2006a).
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of a Codex standard knowing in advance that in doing so it would not be
required to follow the standard whose adoption it did not block, would later find
itself to have an obligation to follow under the SPS Agreement. (WTO 1997)
In fact, the WTO Panel, as well as its Appellate Body, held that abstentions
and even dissenting votes did not excuse a country from needing to justify
its departure from an existing Codex standard.
The mid-1990s votes, and the Beef Hormones ruling, led to a questioning
of the procedural rules within the Codex. In the 1999 Codex meeting,
‘India, supported by China, Malaysia, and other delegations expressed the
view that, when decisions could not be reached by consensus and voting
was required, a two-third majority should be introduced, in view of the
importance of Codex texts as a reference in international trade’ (CAC
1999, para. 61). The 2002 Codex evaluation also supported this strategy,
noting that ‘the occasional use of simple majority voting of delegates pres-
ent to adopt standards has led to some of the most controversial Codex deci-
sions, given the narrow margins by which standards were passed’ (Traill
et al. 2002, para. 132). This is no doubt a reference to the 1995 Codex stan-
dards for five of the six hormones in the EC-Hormones case, which passed
33-29 with seven countries abstaining (WTO 1997). However, as we will
Other votes
Votes on standards
Figure 2. Voting in the Codex Alimentarius Commission
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see, the institution has avoided formal reform and has instead moved to
shore up consensus procedures.
Stabilizing Consensus
After passage of the SPS agreement, and the rise in frequency of voting, a
number of scholars predicted that voting would play an increasingly impor-
tant role in the newly ‘politicized’ organization (e.g., Stewart and Johan-
son 1998; Motaal 2004). However, the data support no such conclusion:
rather, there was a blip of voting around 1995, and then a retrenchment back
to consensus outcomes (see figure 2).
The Codex has actively mobilized efforts to prevent votes from occur-
ring. In 1997, following a particularly contentious vote on the milk hor-
mone, BST, the Commission tasked its Committee on General Principles
with improving procedures to obtain consensus (CAC 1997, para. 125;
Jukes 2000). This process led in 1999 to a decision to amend the Codex
Rules of Procedure by adding rule X.2: ‘The Commission shall make every
effort to reach agreement on the adoption or amendment of standards by
consensus. Decisions to adopt or amend standards may be taken by voting
only if such efforts to reach consensus have failed’ (CAC 1999, 97). Years
of additional discussion led to the 2003 general decision entitled Measures
to Facilitate Consensus (CAC 2003, 123-4). This decision, now part of the
procedural manual, recommends inter alia ‘[r]efraining from submitting
proposals ... where the scientific basis is not well established on current
data and, where necessary, carry out further studies in order to clarify con-
troversial issues;’ and that ‘matters should not be passed on to the Com-
mission until such time as consensus has been achieved at the technical
level.’ This decision highlights the Codex’s attempt to mobilize adherence
to consensus and understanding that ‘technical consensus’ is central to
political consensus. That these attempts to avoid voting are now taken quite
seriously is illustrated by the fact that the draft residue limit for BST has
been held at the final stage of the process since 1997, so as to avoid bringing
it before the committee, where it would inevitably result in a vote.
Although the concept of consensus clearly does legitimizing political
work on its own, the related idea that Codex standards flow rationally from
universally accepted scientific knowledge is useful for both the Codex and
the WTO. The instrumentality of the Codex is perceived to depend on its
ability to produce convergence toward credible and authoritative standards
that are ‘scientifically sound.’ Convergence validates the trust given to it
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by the trading regime and reinforces its theory of food regulation as a tech-
nocratic practice, guided by universal reason.
Thus, the work to re-establish consensus decision making goes hand-in-
glove with its post-WTO self-presentation as, above all, a scientific organi-
zation. The 2006 Third Edition of Understanding the Codex Alimentarius,
an explanatory document targeting the public, states that the ‘carefully
crafted Statutes and Rules of Procedure ensure that [the Codex] pursues its
clearly defined objectives in a disciplined, dispassionate, and scientific
way’ (FAO/WHO 2006c, 13) and that ‘Codex standards are considered
scientifically justified and are accepted as the benchmarks against which
national measures and regulations are evaluated’ (FAO/WHO 2006c,
31). Achieving consensus serves to demarcate the Codex as an expert
agency, which in turn helps legitimate its newfound regulatory power.
The recent and anomalous vote on Emmental Cheese labeling in 2007
illustrates the weight put on consensus in the current Codex. This vote, the
first on a standard in a decade, occurred when Switzerland refused a pro-
posal by the Chair to simply note its opposition to the proposed standard and
instead refused to allow the standard to go forward by consensus. According
to the Codex procedures, in such a situation, the dissenting party must make
a counterproposal. If this counterproposal is seconded, a vote ensues
between the original proposal of the Chair and the counterproposal. After
Switzerland made its counterproposal to send the proposed standard back
to the relevant subcommittee for further discussion, a tense few minutes
ensued, during which it did not seem that any party was going to second the
counterproposal. Finally, the delegation of Jamaica seconded the proposal,
sending the issue to a vote.
Remarkably, in spite of delegations reluctance
to second the issue, twenty-three members, or quarter of the voting countries
voted along with Switzerland. Thus, even when standards pass by consensus,
there are likely to be many members who would vote against it if a vote were
to occur, but who elect not to in order to maintain the norm of consensus.
The vote was widely regarded as a black mark on the meeting. After the
fact, many delegates expressed their displeasure that the vote had occurred,
calling it a ‘negotiating failure.’ More than one delegate referred to what
they thought would be the coming political fallout in this and other fora
resulting from the vote.
Voting and Consensus in Science Advisory Bodies
The expert committees providing science advice to the Codex have
also reconsidered the role of voting and consensus.
These bodies produce
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the reports that the Secretariat gathers at the request of the Codex subcom-
mittees (see figure 1). The reports combine exposure pathway and intake
data with health and toxicological data to recommend amounts of sub-
stances that can be ingested daily over a lifetime without appreciable risk.
This process frequently involves evaluating a set of previous studies and
summarizing findings for the committee. With much agreeing evidence,
this process may not be particularly controversial. When the evidence is
mixed, the advisory body is in a more difficult position. Disagreement
among scientists on these committees has generally been dealt with by sim-
ply reporting the disagreement. However, in the wake of the Beef Hormones
case, explicit procedures for resolving, as opposed to reporting, this type of
disagreement began to surface.
Each assessment that comes out of an advisory body represents an agree-
ment on the part of the scientists writing the report. In the event of disagree-
ment between these scientists, the Joint FAO/WHO Workshop on the
Provision of Scientific Advice to Codex and Member Countries suggests
that ‘[v]oting could be used where consensus cannot be reached. Meetings
should strive for consensus wherever possible, but where consensus cannot
be achieved, this should be documented’ (FAO/WHO 2004, 21). This type
of disag reeme nt is inappropria te to represent with error bars and uncer-
tainty intervals. If a single finding must e merge from such disagre ement ,
it must instead be set tled by interpersonal decision-making procedures.
Requiring different degrees of maj or ity or consensus introduces an impor-
tant element of democratic process to what is ostensibly legitimated as an
expert activity (Guston 2006). This suggested push toward formal voting
procedures on expert bodies is an illustration of how changes in global
trade la w engendere d changes in the practi ce of i nte rnat ion al scienc e
Perhaps more interesting has been the science advisory bodies’ push
back against this suggestion. As far as we can determine, no formal votes
have taken place in the Codex expert bodies. At the sixty-fifth meeting of
the JECFA, a safety evaluation of flavoring agents took place. During this
evaluation, an irresolvable difference of expert opinion occurred, and after
much failed attempt to reach consensus, the chair asked for a show of hands
of who was not in agreement. The minority opinion of two scientists was
recorded in the report. When asked about this event, a member of the
JECFA secretariat said that this had not been a vote, and that the JECFA
was not a voting body, insisting: ‘you cannot vote in science; you can only
Within the ethos of the Codex advising bodies, voting is per-
ceived to undercut its scientific authority.
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Representation on Expert Committees
These procedures to determine the content of the reports that Codex com-
mittees use to draft standards obviously heighten the importance of commit-
tee composition. Who is being chosen and how have become critical
questions, just as they have in national contexts (Jasanoff 1990). But issues
of political representation are playing out in different ways at the global
The major Codex science advisory bodies are joint expert committees
of the FAO and WHO. Experts are selected by the Directors General of
the FAO and WHO from rosters of experts within their respective organi-
zations, with oversight from the executive board of their respective
The procedure for the selection of JECFA experts states
that a balance between scientific expertise and other experience (particu-
larly regulatory) is essential (FAO 2003). To be placed on a roster, an inter-
ested individual must submit an application in response to a current call for
experts on a given issue. Other than travel expenses, time and resources
used to gather the relevant studies, and draft summaries are not compen-
sated. There is also an explicit requirement for a certain level of scientific
expertise and experience.
Some scholars have noted that these policies on compensation and expe-
rience lower participation from developing country participants on advisory
bodies (Boutrif 2003; Post 2005) and the issue recently emerged as a theme
in a review of Codex science advising procedures. This was the so-called
Joint FAO/WHO Consultative Process on the Provision of Scientific
Advice—a multiyear process involving circulating papers in an e-forum,
workshops, and the generation of reports containing recommendations that
were regularly presented to the Codex. As part of this process, a ‘Meeting
on Enhancing Developing Country Participation in Scientific Advice Activ-
ities’ was convened in 2005, issuing its final recommendations to the 2007
Codex Committee meeting. Inclusiveness of minority scientific opinion and
a diverse set of skills were core findings. The report also recommended that
in the selection of participants, ‘due consideration should be given to geo-
graphical and socioeconomic balance, but not to the extent that it compro-
mises scientific integrity’ (FAO/WHO 2007, 11).
The emerging discourse about ‘inclusiveness’ in expert committees has
created an obvious tension with the Codex’s concern with scientific creden-
tials as the key criterion of committee membership.
The authority of advi-
sory committees in the U.S. policy system, for instance, derives in part from
their ability to claim the label ‘science’ rather than ‘politics’ (Jasanoff
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1990). The notion that party-affiliation or geographical origin matters on
these committees challenges their promotion as disinterested science.
Perhaps for this reason, official Codex statements have framed the geo-
graphical representation issue in ways that preserve the demarcation of
advisory committees as a pure, scientific space. First, the goal of represen-
tation is presented as credibility building, rather than correcting science
slanted to the interests of the North. The background discussion piece for
an e-forum of the ‘Consultative Process on the Provision of Scientific
Advice’ states that the smaller proportion of experts from developing
countries ‘contributes to the perception that the advice provided could be
biased’ (Gonzalez 2003, 1). The fact that the report worries only about the
‘perception’ is telling: they do not actually worry about a departure from
sound science due to a Northern bias but rather gaining the trust of devel-
oping countries.
In addition to credibility building, the need to reconcile representation
with ‘scientific integrity’ gives rise to a second framing: geographical rep-
resentation as capacity building. When the benefits of greater participation
are discussed in official reports and recommendations, they emphasize the
creation of an ‘enabling environment’ at home for new science and new
science-based standards. For example, the report on the aforementioned
‘Meeting for Enhancing Developing Country Participation’ recommends
that a ‘practical booklet should be prepared by FAO/WHO and distributed
that describes the importance of scientific advice as a tool toward increasing
awareness of various member government agencies, organizations and
institutes’ (FAO/WHO 2006b, 16). Any reference to representation of
developing countries on the committee is relegated to discussions about
data availability in which insufficient data from developing countries may
lead to their not being represented in scientific findings.
These framings of the representation issue highlight an important differ-
ence between science advising in international and domestic contexts. By
shifting to talk of capacity building, a scripted and off-the-shelf discourse
within the public international bureaucracy, the FAO/WHO advisory bodies
try to accomplish what U.S. advisory committees were not able to do: call
for ideological and political ‘balance’ within advisory committees without
undermining their epistemic authority. Because this body can argue that
developing country participation brings scientific influence to national pol-
icymaking (an argument that does not make sense for political balance in
the domestic setting), potentially conflicting parties are able to call for the
same thing: greater participation. Thus, discourses of representation and
sound science are made to converge rather than conflict, achieving the
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reconstruction of science advisory committees as hybrid zones of knowl-
edge making and political negotiation.
The emergence of the global food safety regime relied on a process of mutual
legitimation across organizations and their differing sources of authority. The
World Trade Organization invoked sound science and the Codex as a pre-
existing source of expertise that upheld it. But far from simply enrolling and
empowering an existing expert organization, the WTO was instrumental in
producing one. Furthermore, through a process of coproduction of both epis-
temic and legal authority, both the WTO and the Codex have given rise to an
authoritative discourse of regulation and an attendant regulatory epistemol-
ogy. The resulting standardized risk analysis within the Codex is a direct
result of the ambitious goals set by SPS negotiators to rationalize and harmo-
nize the regulation of consumer and environmental risk in the trading regime.
Furthermore, the near-ubiquitous demand to base Codex standards on scien-
tific risk analysis renders the regulation of food legible to a set of policy-
makers who seek to impose universally applicable standards in the interest
of economic efficiency. These of course are not incorrect goals as such. But
as scholarship by Scott (1998) and others has shown, large-scale rationaliza-
tion projects may try to do too much: systems of standards may be in harmony
with each other but discordant with the political reality within member states.
Hence, it is critical to remain attentive to the ways particular accounts of sci-
ence-for-regulation become naturalized at all levels of social organization. It
is precisely this sort of attention that has helped produce a risk analysis frame-
work that is far less rigid than first proposed.
We have also traced a narrative of knowledge regime stabilization,
namely how the accretion of power at the Codex ushered in a phase of
unsettlement around its working procedures, and its science advice. Valida-
tion of the Codex’s newly vested authority necessitated new strategies of
boundary work as it organized risk analysis into technical and policy phases
and as it worked to re-establish procedures that seemed in accord with a
technocratic ethos. Accordingly, the Codex has actively tried to re-establish
consensus within its standard-setting procedures and avoid decision-forcing
procedures in its science advice. Finally by framing calls for developing
country participation in expert bodies as capacity building, Codex could
retain its image as a technocratic rather than a political agency, productive
of scientific convergence rather than disunity.
Like Latour’s (1987) skeptic, if we go looking for the source of scientific
legitimacy, we find that it is not readily localizable. It is spread out across a
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network of actors, tools, and institutions. The WTO locates it within the
Codex, the Codex looks to its expert advisory bodies, and the expert advisory
bodies in turn look to the contingently defined scientific community. What
we see is a process of nesting delegations of epistemic authority. At each step,
the parent institution derives political legitimacy from a ‘nest’ of experts,
while the experts derive political authority from their parent institutions.
As the work of these bodies takes on increasing power in the sphere of health
and environment, expert consensus becomes harder to achieve, and so purer
expert bodies are needed.
The move, however, toward democratic elements within Codex expert
process signals the fact that such delegations have their pragmatic limits. Per-
haps these new procedures harness the necessary sense of transparency, rep-
resentation, and accountability within these hybrid bodies to enable them to
do their political work. Considering both the power embedded within Codex
functions and activities, the embrace of democratic elements should not be
dismissed as inappropriate or out of place. To the contrary, they signal the
critical importance of attending to the politics and procedural legitimacy
within international knowledge institutions. We have in part been showing
that these politics are taking on a particular character in global fora, where
geopolitical divides are stark, where trade interests are strong, and where
acceptable forms of science-for-regulation must somehow be negotiated.
As the political importance of the Codex has increased, these rules of
procedure have come to the fore, becoming new sites of conflict in a strug-
gle to define the rules for legitimate knowledge production within the WTO
legal framework. These developments signify that Codex has achieved a
sort of explicit status as a global governmental agency, a place of both pol-
itics and expertise that must balance efficiency with the other substantive
values of a global community.
1. Interview with members of the SPS Secretariat, Geneva Switzerland, 2006-7.
2. The others are enumerated as the International Office of Epizootics and Secretar-
iat of the International Plant Protection Convention (WTO 1994, Annex A(3)).
3. As a positive term, legitimacy of an institution describes a social fact—the actual
acceptance of the authority by its subjects (Esty 2002). In a normative sense, the
concept of institutional legitimacy is usually founded either upon a notion of just
political process (e.g., elections for political representatives or deliberation), and/
or a conception of rationality and technocratic efficacy (Livermore 2006).
Technocratic legitimacy in a positive sense usually rests on the social authority
of science and in a normative sense on the expected benefits of basing policy on
Winickoff and Bushey 375
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technical knowledge. Here, we are talking about political and technocratic
legitimacy in the normative sense.
4. SPS interviews.
5. Of course, this belief in the pragmatic ability of ‘sound science’ to settle dis-
putes on contested regulatory questions was naive, as the ample STS work on
regulation might have predicted; and these same ‘science-based’ provisions
have been litigated strenuously over the first decade of the agreement
(Winickoff et al. 2005).
6. Standards for these four hormones, along with one other, were passed by vote in
1995 and then played a central role in the 1997 WTO dispute, EC Measures
Concerning Meat and Meat Products (Beef Hormones).
7. On the negotiating history of the principles, see (Gerstetter and Maier 2005)
8. A 1999 draft of these principles and guidelines gave a working definition of the
precautionary principle, and included the following as principle 7 ‘In case
where scientific knowledge on the risks is insufficient, risk management deci-
sions may be adopted on an interim basis as part of a precautionary approach.’
(CCFH 1999, 3)
9. The EC called upon this language in the EC Beef Hormones Panel case, claim-
ing that ‘Members which had different views about other considerations (e.g.
health concerns of consumers) could abstain from accepting the relevant stan-
dards.’ (WTO 1997, para. IV.86)
10. These data were compiled from the reports of the Commission. They exclude
votes to modify the procedural manual, as these changes must be done via voting.
11. This material is based on one of the author’s in-person observations in 2007.
12. As described above, the three standing bodies are the JECFA, JMPR, and JEMRA.
13. Personal interview–July, 2007.
14. For the FAO, these rules are given in Article VI of the FAO constitution: (FAO
2001). For the WHO, these rules are given in the ‘Regulations for Expert
Advisory Panels and Committees’ (WHO 2004, Sect. 31).
15. Codex explains in its public material that ‘those selected must be pre-eminent
in their specialty, have the highest respect of their scientific peers, and be impar-
tial and indisputably objective in their judgment.’ (FAO/WHO 2006c, 23) The
issue of equity in representation across North and South is highly reminiscent of
discussions within other global knowledge institutions, most obviously the
IPCC (see e.g., Biermann 2002).
Author’s Note
The authors wish to thank Sheila Jasanoff, Clark Miller, Larry Busch, and
Mark Brown for helpful suggestions on this article. All remaining errors are
of course our own.
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Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The authors declared no conflicts of interest with respect to the authorship
and/or publication of this article.
The authors received a state grant from the California Agricultural Experi-
ment Station (AES) for this research.
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David E. Winickoff is assistant professor of bioethics and society, and co-director
of the STS Center at University of California, Berkeley. In addition to international
trade and food regulation, he works on the ethical, legal, and social aspects of the life
sciences. He can be reached at
Douglas M. Bushey is a PhD candidate in the Energy and Resources Group at the
University of California, Berkeley, and a visiting scholar at Brown University’s
Watson Institute for International Studies.
Winickoff and Bushey 381
at SAGE Publications on October 27, 2010sth.sagepub.comDownloaded from
... Power struggles among transnational consultants, representatives of the Ecuadorian government, and coffee producer groups authorized knowledge of coffee's quality and its link to origin -knowledge that reshaped relations of power through the code that defined how quality would be regulated. Actors' appeals to epistemic authority empowered them to enact their policy preferences locally, while reflecting and reinforcing the authority of structurally dominant Western actors to say what matters for food, quality, and development (Levidow et al. 2007;Winickoff and Bushey 2010). This suggests that quality food initiatives that aim to empower producers and valorize traditional savoir-faire can reproduce conflicts over universalized and contextualized knowledge claims present in agro-industrial systems (Kloppenburg Jr. 1988;Flachs 2019). ...
... This discourse has been critiqued for constructing the archipelago as a 'pristine' ecosystem to suit endemic species, scientific researchers, and tourists, while negating the presence of the nearly 30,000 residents whose livelihoods and that there is 'no such thing as terroir' have been lodged by opponents of GI regulation (Josling 2006;Teil 2010Teil , 2012. 8 These complaints have power in a context in which scientific evidence concerning food quality is increasingly produced at the intersection of food standards, trade regulation and dispute resolution, and the authority of international institutions such as the WTO and Codex Alimentarius (Jasanoff 2004;Levidow et al. 2007;Halfon 2010;Winickoff and Bushey 2010;Bonneuil and Levidow 2012). In this climate, GI proponents have sought to 'objectively' establish terroir through scientific research from fields such as molecular chemistry, geospatial analysis, meteorology, and gastronomy (Trubek 2008;Teil 2010;Oberthür et al. 2011;Bowen 2015;Barjolle et al. 2017;Biénabe and Marie-Vivien 2017). ...
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Based on the French notion of terroir or ‘the taste of place,’ a certified geographical indication (GI) identifies an agro-food product as originating in a particular territory and suggests that its quality, reputation, or other characteristics are essentially or exclusively attributable to its geographical origin. Previous scholarship exploring the social construction of terroir has focused on how disparities in political, economic, and cultural power shape GI regulations, certification procedures, and territorial boundaries. While these works have considered knowledge as a resource deployed through relations of authority, studies of GI implementation have not adequately considered an important aspect of power in contemporary politics: the epistemic authority to assert the legitimacy of knowledge and its relevance to policymaking. In contrast, in this article, I take the accomplishment of epistemic authority – to determine the ‘essential’ and ‘exclusive’ physical and/or cultural attributes of place that shape product character – as key to the social construction of terroir and the institutionalization of GI regulations. This process is explored through a case study of Ecuador’s 2013-2019 implementation of a GI for Galápagos Islands coffee. I draw on analysis of relevant policy and regulatory documents and semi-structured interviews with 21 key stakeholders to argue that analytical attention to the legitimacy and relevance of terroir knowledge explains how coffee producers were able to deploy authoritative knowledge to disrupt and reinforce relations of authority and challenge the terms and mechanisms of GI qualification.
... Beyond purely regulatory areas, in climate science or biodiversity policies, we see a similar phenomenon at play: cadres or colleges of scientists, in close connection with national or transnational authorities in these areas, negotiate and protect the epistemic norms based on which problems are measured and framed. In the process, regulatory sciences solidify, and the groups of experts in question reinforce their expertise and authority, being the guards of international regulatory epistemologies (Winickoff and Bushey, 2010). ...
The evaluation of technologies and their risks is a hybrid exercise, involving the forging of facts and proofs of the properties of these technologies, and judgment calls about the value of these technologies and underlying risks for society. This regulatory science, where the construction of facts about technologies mix with debated legal, social and economic criteria of technological desirability, is a particularly challenging area for scientists to navigate and gain authority in. This is all the more the case now as the practices and norms of regulatory science appear to be influenced by the very industries it helps to regulate. This chapter discusses how expert objectivity and authority have historically been negotiated in regulatory science and the associated changes in a context that is politicized by claims of industry capture and scientists’ conflicts of interest. It argues that the authority of experts and their reputation for objectivity and responsibility have much to do with their positions in various fields—administrative, industrial, academic, and social mobilization—that is, in the broad ecology in which regulatory knowledge contentiously takes form.
... Although the Codex Commission was established as an informal standard setting organism decades before the World Trade Organisation Agreements came into force, the designation and adoption of the Codex as a global reference point in the global trading system catalyzed a shift in the Codex's legal status: that which had previously been a voluntary exercise gained a compulsory character and political importance. 43 Design Limitations and Considerations Some argue the Codex suffers from a democratic deficit: member states lacking the capacity to implement standards are often also unable to participate in standard setting activities or to be Chairs for the same reason. 44 The underrepresentation of consumer interests and overrepresentation of industry within the observers and national delegations at the Codex has also been flagged. ...
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Despite recognition of the health threat posed at the human-animal-environment interface long ago, One Health has yet to be meaningfully integrated into global pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response. With the negotiation of the forthcoming pandemic instrument under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO) — which is inherently restricted by its own constitutional mandate of human health — One Health risks being sidelined once again. Genuine integration of a One Health approach into this treaty will require the institutionalization of formal One Health coordination mechanisms.
... Para la FAO se trata de un derecho humano, es decir, un derecho subjetivo y universal a recibir alimentos en calidad y cantidad suficiente (Bonet de Viola, 2013;FAO, 2005;Schutter & Cordes, 2011). Mientras que para la OMC (Organización Mundial del Comercio) se trata ante todo de una garantía de inocuidad de los alimentos, la cual es alcanzada a través del estricto cumplimiento de normativa de tipo técnica científica estandarizada (Boutrif, 2003;Dawson, 1995;Veggeland & Borgen, 2005;Winickoff & Bushey, 2010). ...
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Este texto presenta, en primer lugar, un breve marco conceptual sobre el derecho humano a la alimentación, para luego explicitar cada una de las tres grandes áreas regulatorias que han sido identificadas como grandes ejes del ordenamiento alimentario argentino. Estos sectores no agotan todos los aspectos necesarios para cubrir los requerimientos del desarrollo de la seguridad alimentaria, ya que existen otros aspectos que hacen a la consecución del derecho humano a la alimentación, en su sentido más integral y complejo. Se trata de cuestiones como la regulación del acceso al agua o la tierra, las políticas de empleo, de precios, el sistema de propiedad de las semillas, la regulación de los Organismos genéticamente modificados (OGM), que se tornan centrales si se aborda este derecho desde la perspectiva de la soberanía alimentaria. Sin embargo, estas cuestiones sólo son apuntadas, pero no serán analizadas pues exceden el objetivo de este trabajo.
The paper contributes to the under-researched domain of standard setting for bottled water quality in India. The paper opens-up the ‘black box’ of regulation-making by analysing the mandatory bottled water quality standards set by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). The regulation-making exercise is dominated by bureaucrats and technocrats representing government departments, publicly funded institutions and representatives of big industries. In the standard-setting committees, representation of NGOs, small firms, technology suppliers, independent experts, consumers and citizens are either missing or limited. The kind of experts enrolled by the technical committee and the practice and principles employed by BIS for decision-making have a strong bearing on the regulatory standards. The standard setting for bottled water was the outcome of a complex process that was significantly shaped by the views and values of the dominant regulatory actors, especially what was perceived as valid and superior ‘regulatory knowledge’. Discrete actors, such as bureaucrats, technocrats, big firms and NGOs, supported the wider adoption of international standards, but they had different rationales for advocating the adoption. However, the uncritical adoption of international standards has resulted in a disregard for incorporating environmental, epidemiological, dietary and diverse socio-economic factors into setting standards. Inclusion of socio-economic and other contextual factors could increase the validity and effectiveness of regulatory standards.
In an era of increased reliance on private regulatory bodies and globalised economic activity, standardisation is the field where politics, technical expertise and strategic behaviour meet and interact. International standard-setting bodies exemplify the rise of transnational governance and the challenges that it brings about relating to institutional choice, legitimacy, procedural and substantive fairness or transparency. This book takes a more empirical-based approach focusing on the mechanics of international standard-setting. It constitutes a multidisciplinary inquiry into the foundations of international standard-setting, an empirically under-researched yet important area of international informal lawmaking. Contributors expertly examine the peculiarities of international standardisation in selected issue-areas and legal orders and shed light on the attributes of international standard-setters, allowing comparisons among standard-setting bodies with a view to identifying best practices and improve our understanding about standardisation processes.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) recently celebrated twenty years of existence. The general wisdom is that its dispute settlement institutions work well and its negotiation machinery goes through a phase of prolonged crises. Assessing the World Trade Organization overcomes this myopic view and takes stock of the WTO's achievements whilst going beyond existing disciplinary narratives. With chapters written by scholars who have closely observed the development of the WTO in recent years, this book presents the state of the art in thinking about WTO performance. It also considers important issues such as the origins of the multilateral system, the accession process and the WTO's interaction with other international organisations. The contributions shed new light on untold stories, critically review and present existing scholarship, and sketch new research avenues for a future generation of trade scholars. This book will appeal to a wide audience that aims to better understand the drivers and obstacles of WTO performance.
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Adequate intake of fruits has been linked with the reduction in the risk of chronic diseases and maintenance of body weight. Fruits and Their Roles in Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods covers recent research related to the bioactive compounds present in a variety of fruits
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Zusammenfassung Regulierungswissenschaftliche Organisationen wie das Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung (BfR) sehen sich in ihrer wissenschaftsbasierten Risikokommunikation mit diversen Herausforderungen konfrontiert: Einerseits wird die Kommunikation gesundheitlicher Risiken immer komplexer und dementsprechend voraussetzungsreicher, weshalb unter anderem Fragen nach der Gesundheitskompetenz von Verbraucherinnen und Verbrauchern sowie zielgruppengerechter Risikokommunikation an Bedeutung gewinnen. Andererseits sehen sich die Wissensbestände regulierungswissenschaftlicher Organisationen zunehmend der Politisierung und öffentlichen Kritik ausgesetzt. In diesem Rahmen werden Fragen nach der Objektivität und Vertrauenswürdigkeit von Gutachten, Risikobewertungen und Stellungnahmen sowie der Legitimierung und Reputation regulierungswissenschaftlicher Organisationen relevant. Zusätzlich intensiviert wird dies durch das Aufkommen neuer Akteure in den sozialen Medien, die eigene Informations- und Kommunikationsmaterialien produzieren und veröffentlichen. In diesem Kontext verbreitete Fehl‑, Des- und Malinformationen stellen eine weitere Herausforderung dar, welche eng mit Fragen nach einer adäquaten Kommunikation über gesundheitliche Risiken sowie der Stabilisierung von Legitimität, Reputation und Vertrauenswürdigkeit zusammenhängt. Der Artikel diskutiert verschiedene Lösungsansätze, darunter die Optimierung und visuelle Aufbereitung von Gesundheitsinformationen, die Ermöglichung gesellschaftlicher Partizipation und die Einbettung dieser Maßnahmen in das strategische Stakeholder- und Reputationsmanagement. Der Beitrag schließt mit einem Aufruf zu offenerer Diskussion inhärenter Dilemmata.
In chapter one, we defined mandated science as that which is used for the purposes of making policy. In this definition, we included original research, both that commissioned for the express purpose of regulatory decision making and the academic studies relied upon by policy makers. We included the evaluations of expert committees and inquiries, and the formal adjudication of science-related issues by regulatory agencies and tribunals. Finally, we included studies commissioned by expert committees, government departments or regulatory agencies to further their aims. The defining characteristic of mandated science was that it was either produced and/or interpreted for the purposes of public policy. Our contention was that the mandate to produce scientific conclusions to support policy decisions had a significant impact upon the conduct of scientific activity, and the interpretation of scientific information.
Biology and politics have converged today across much of the industrialized world. Debates about genetically modified organisms, cloning, stem cells, animal patenting, and new reproductive technologies crowd media headlines and policy agendas. Less noticed, but no less important, are the rifts that have appeared among leading Western nations about the right way to govern innovation in genetics and biotechnology. These significant differences in law and policy, and in ethical analysis, may in a globalizing world act as obstacles to free trade, scientific inquiry, and shared understandings of human dignity.In this magisterial look at some twenty-five years of scientific and social development, Sheila Jasanoff compares the politics and policy of the life sciences in Britain, Germany, the United States, and in the European Union as a whole. She shows how public and private actors in each setting evaluated new manifestations of biotechnology and tried to reassure themselves about their safety.Three main themes emerge. First, core concepts of democratic theory, such as citizenship, deliberation, and accountability, cannot be understood satisfactorily without taking on board the politics of science and technology. Second, in all three countries, policies for the life sciences have been incorporated into "nation-building" projects that seek to reimagine what the nation stands for. Third, political culture influences democratic politics, and it works through the institutionalized ways in which citizens understand and evaluate public knowledge. These three aspects of contemporary politics, Jasanoff argues, help account not only for policy divergences but also for the perceived legitimacy of state actions.