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Development of a framework to capture the maturity of food safety regulatory and enforcement agencies: Insights from Delphi study



Purpose The purpose of the paper is to present the first stage of work being undertaken to develop and evaluate a maturity framework designed to assess and benchmark the effectiveness, ability to achieve continuous improvement, and optimise processes and functioning of food safety regulatory and enforcement agencies across the world. Design/Methodology To achieve this aim, a comparison of global food safety regulations, and Delphi-interviews with stakeholders of food safety regulatory and enforcement agencies from Australia, Canada, Ireland, and USA were carried out. Through inductive, textual data analysis, three dimensions and thirteen sub-dimensions were identified that covered cultural and systems elements influencing the quality and impact of food safety regulations across the world as well as the gaps identified by the stakeholders. Findings The conclusions of the paper are that whilst there is broad support by food safety regulators for developing a benchmarking and evaluation framework for food safety regulatory and enforcement agencies, there are also some outstanding challenges such as defining globally applicable measures, buy-in from specialised agencies and senior management to adopt a maturity framework to change the culture within regulatory agencies, and the role played by governments in influencing the efficiency and functioning of regulatory systems. Limitations/Implications While more research would be required to further develop a maturity scale to assess food safety regulatory and enforcement agencies, it is concluded that evaluating the maturity of food safety regulatory and enforcement agencies (FSRA) by food safety regulators is a realistic possibility but needs to take account of some of the lessons which could be learnt from guidance frameworks with similar goals (e.g., the Food and Agriculture Organization's Food Control System Assessment Tool). Evaluation of the framework should be carried out by national agencies to develop a user-centred maturity toolkit.
Food Control 142 (2022) 109220
Available online 11 July 2022
0956-7135/© 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Development of a framework to capture the maturity of food safety
regulatory and enforcement agencies: Insights from a Delphi study
Rounaq Nayak
, Lone Jespersen
SALUS: The Food Safety Culture Science Group; Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, Bournemouth University, Poole, BH12 5BB, UK
Nutritional Sciences and Applied Food Safety Studies Group, Faculty of Allied Health and Wellbeing, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, Lancashire, PR1 2HE,
Food safety
Food safety maturity tool
Food safety regulatory agency
Purpose: The purpose of the paper is to present the rst stage of work being undertaken to develop and evaluate a
maturity framework designed to assess and benchmark the effectiveness, ability to achieve continuous
improvement, and optimise processes and functioning of food safety regulatory and enforcement agencies across
the world.
Design/Methodology: To achieve this aim, a comparison of global food safety regulations, and Delphi-interviews
with stakeholders of food safety regulatory and enforcement agencies from Australia, Canada, Ireland, and USA
were carried out. Through inductive, textual data analysis, three dimensions and thirteen sub-dimensions were
identied that covered cultural and systems elements inuencing the quality and impact of food safety regula-
tions across the world as well as the gaps identied by the stakeholders.
Findings: The conclusions of the paper are that whilst there is broad support by food safety regulators for
developing a benchmarking and evaluation framework for food safety regulatory and enforcement agencies,
there are also some outstanding challenges such as dening globally applicable measures, buy-in from specialised
agencies and senior management to adopt a maturity framework to change the culture within regulatory
agencies, and the role played by governments in inuencing the efciency and functioning of regulatory systems.
Limitations/Implications: While more research would be required to further develop a maturity scale to assess food
safety regulatory and enforcement agencies, it is concluded that evaluating the maturity of food safety regulatory
and enforcement agencies (FSRA) by food safety regulators is a realistic possibility but needs to take account of
some of the lessons which could be learnt from guidance frameworks with similar goals (e.g., the Food and
Agriculture Organizations Food Control System Assessment Tool). Evaluation of the framework should be
carried out by national agencies to develop a user-centred maturity toolkit.
1. Introduction
Food safety is an important issue that affects public health and trade
around the world. Food safety incidents cause a larger social and eco-
nomic toll on low and middle-income countries (Hoffmann, Moser, &
Saak, 2019). A report by the WorldHealth Organization (2015) states
that approximately 600 million people fall ill (leading to 420,000
deaths) due to the consumption of contaminated food. Additionally,
poor food safety practices negatively impact the environment due to
factors such as soil, air and water pollution from producer/manufacturer
emissions, contamination due to the use of banned pesticides (Tira-
dovon der Pahlen, 2008), and methane emissions from food discarded
into landlls (Walia & Sanders, 2019). Although not established as an
independent Sustainable Development Goal by the United Nations (due
to a historic lack of evidence of the social and environmental costs of
foodborne diseases), food safety is considered as a key dimension of food
security (a key UN SDG) (Grace, 2017). Additionally, the WHO associ-
ated 31 foodborne hazards to global burden/health estimates, i.e., data
informing death and disability globally (Havelaar et al., 2015). Thus, it
can be inferred that foodborne diseases leading to food safety incidents
are an unsustainable outcome. Due to such factors, it is important to
control the safety of food products through food safety regulations in
global food supply chains (Nayak & Waterson, 2019).
While regulations are designed by legislators, the implementation,
* Corresponding author. Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, Bournemouth University, Poole, BH12 5BB, UK.
E-mail address: (R. Nayak).
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
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journal homepage:
Received 11 April 2022; Received in revised form 1 July 2022; Accepted 2 July 2022
Food Control 142 (2022) 109220
enforcement and communication of these regulations is performed by
food safety regulatory and enforcement agencies (FSRA). This is a crit-
ical function for the responsible and safe production and consumption of
food (FAO & WHO, 2019b; Wilson et al., 2015). FSRA authorities largely
aim to improve public health, ensure food security and facilitate do-
mestic and international trade, while achieving specic targets such as:
(1) provision of scientic opinions based on risk assessment; (2) pro-
motion and development of risk assessment strategies; (3) commis-
sioning of scientic studies; (4) analysis of scientic data; (5)
identication of emerging risks; (6) working with other regulatory
agencies domestically and internationally; and (7) providing informa-
tion of imminent risks transparently to other nations (Hugas & Tsigar-
ida, 2008, pp. 4344; Varzakas, Tsigarida, Apostolopoulos,
Kalogridou-Vassiliadou, & Jukes, 2006).
As per the framework of the Principles and Guidelines for National
Food Control Systems (Codex Alimentarius Commission, 2013), indi-
vidual countries have the autonomy to dene their food control systems
and implement specic control measures as long as they are able to
ensure public health and wellbeing. Irrespective of the structure of na-
tional frameworks, measuring effectiveness, the ability to achieve
continuous improvement and optimise processes and functions per-
formed is important for all FSRA. This not only helps improve the quality
of the services provided, but also: (1) builds stakeholder condence; (2)
strengthens the national food systems global standing; and (3) opens
the national food system to new international markets through favour-
able trade deals (FAO & WHO, 2019b).
Although autonomy in public sector (micro-level i.e., national) or-
ganisations is a critical feature in promoting effective and robust na-
tional governance mechanisms (Oberg & Wockelberg, 2021; Wynen,
Verhoest, & Rubecksen, 2014), it is important to assist such organisa-
tions in assessing the effectiveness and maturity of their national food
safety auditing and inspection systems. Developing a globally applicable
assessment system would aid all relevant organisations in comparing
their maturity (i.e., performance) towards the same standards. This will
help identify priority areas and the support required (FAO & WHO,
2019b) by these organisations.
This paper presents a globally applicable maturity model designed to
assess and benchmark the effectiveness, ability to achieve continuous
improvement, and optimise the processes and functioning of food safety
regulatory and enforcement agencies across the world. The framework is
developed based on: (1) a review of global food safety regulations to
map their scope and the role of the respective food safety regulatory and
enforcement agency; and (2) expert stakeholdersperspectives of role of
FSRA and gaps in current service assessment strategies of FSRA around
the world. Current research on food safety regulations and management
systems has tended to focus on the characterization of the importance
and implementation of food safety regulations and management systems
(Mensah & Julien, 2011), evaluation of culture, climate and behavioural
change within private food entities (De Boeck, Jacxsens, Kurban, &
Wallace, 2020; Jespersen, Grifths, Maclaurin, Chapman, & Wallace,
2016; Jespersen & Wallace, 2017; Sharman, Wallace, & Jespersen,
2020), and their impact on market price (Mohand, Hammoudi, Radjef,
Hamza, & Perito, 2017). We seek to go beyond the scope of current
research by investigating how regulators could improve their operations
by using a self-assessment tool.
Data was collected using a modied Delphi approach. According to
Linstone and Turoff (1975, p. 3), the Delphi is a method for structuring
a group communication process enabling a group of experts to deal
with a complex problem and suggest potential interventions. It is an
iterative process used to elicit anonymous perspectives from experts
using a series of data collection and analysis techniques combined with
feedback (Wu, Ding, Chen, & Fan, 2021). The iterative rounds of data
collection allows the research to maximise participants judgements
(McKenna, 1994) due to the ability of participants to review anonymised
responses and provide feedback on statements made by peers with
diverse perspectives and experiences. Although the process has not
widely been used to promote food safety (Ilic, LeJeune, Ivey Lewis, &
Miller, 2017) due to questions about the reliability, the method how-
ever, is widely used in the healthcare and sports science elds (e.g., Bell
et al., 2021; Pollard, Mathai, & Walker, 2013).
This study is part of a larger examination of the functioning of FSRA
across the world, with the aim of developing a globally applicable
maturity assessment framework to help agencies improve achieving
public health and trade. While this study established the dimensions of
the maturity framework, the larger study will aim to develop a maturity
scale which will help FSRA measure the effectiveness and efciency of
their existing functions and identify areas for improvement.
2. Methods
2.1. Sample characteristics and participation
In this study, eight experts received invitation letters via email prior
to the rst round and four FSRA stakeholders participated in the Delphi
panel (one each from Australia, Canada, Ireland, and USA) for both
rounds. All panel members had a minimum of 20 years of experience of
working in and/or with FSRA leading to data saturation for this stage of
the study. The genders of the panel members included three members
who identied as males and one member who identied as a female -
this was kept stable during the two rounds.
2.2. Recruitment
Recruitment philosophy for this study was inspired by the framework
proposed by Adler and Ziglio (1996) who state that there are four
pre-requisites that panel members must possess in a Delphi study: (1)
knowledge and experience of the topic under investigation; (2) capacity
and willingness to participate (3) sufcient resources (e.g., time); to take
study initial ndings; and (4) effective communication skills.
Individuals with over twenty years of experience in the food regu-
lation setting were recruited for this study. Recruitment was through
purposive sampling, enabling the inclusion of individuals who were
information rich (Patton, 2002) and were able to share information
based on experience (Popay, Rogers, & Williams, 1998). As the roles of
stakeholders working in the food safety regulatory and enforcement
domain are varied, a sampling strategy suggested by Wilson et al. (2015,
p. 2131) was adopted the authors recruited participants with experi-
ence in varied but relevant areas such as policy and framework devel-
opment, establishing new national agencies, improving existing national
agencies, standards setting, implementation, inspection, and
According to Alizadeh et al. (2020), the outcome of a Delphi study
does not depend on the size of a panel, but the experience of the panel
members. Additionally, Skulmoski, Hartman, and Krahn (2007, p. 6)
highlight the exibility of sample sizes used in previous Delphi studies,
with a range between 3 and 171. Following these principles, the inclu-
sion criteria, and the framework adopted, potential participants were
contacted by the second author. Contact was established through emails.
Follow-up emails were not required. The purpose of the study was
explained through a letter of introduction (which included the partici-
pant information sheet), following which, they were invited to participate
in an online interview as a part of the Delphi study.
2.3. Data collection
Data was collected using a modied Delphi approach. According to
Steurer (2011), a Delphi is carried out in three overarching steps: (1)
identifying the research subject, specifying the research question,
developing an basic understanding of existing theories and practices; (2)
identifying and selecting a panel of experts based on dened inclusion
criteria; and (3) conducting surveys to assimilate panel members per-
spectives involves two or more rounds. To collect sufcient information
R. Nayak and L. Jespersen
Food Control 142 (2022) 109220
a review of global food safety regulations was carried out to map their
scope and the role of the respective food safety regulatory and
enforcement agency. Following this, a review of existing FSRA
improvement tools was carried out. Finally, a two-round analysis was
performed (Ilic et al., 2017) using a modied Delphi method. The ano-
nymity provided to participants (i.e., experts) enabled them to share
their opinions independently and free from the halo effect (Dalkey &
Helmer, 1963). Recent use of this approach has been widespread in
agri-food supply chain and operations management research (for ex-
amples, see Jespersen et al. (2016); Padel and Midmore (2005); and Wu
et al. (2021)). The research process has been illustrated in Fig. 1.
2.3.1. Conduction of the Delphi interviews
Before the rst round of Delphi interviews, a pilot was conducted to
revise interview design and questions to make it more relevant, practical
and to ensure that the questions captured real-world challenges faced by
FSRA. Delphi interviews were conducted online (Microsoft Teams) with
an interview schedule (Table 1) to keep in-line with the Covid-19
pandemic restrictions and to include panel members from around the
world. Interviews lasted between 60 and 90 min. The second author led
the interviews while the rst author made notes and asked follow-on
questions. Both authors met regularly through Microsoft Teams during
data collection to ensure consistency and to discuss the need for modi-
cations to the interview schedule. The rst round of Delphi interviews
was carried out in October 2020 over a two-week period, contingent on
the availability of the panel. After the rst round, a thematic inductive
analysis was completed in two weeks. The results of the rst round were
compiled into a participant feedback report to inform the panel in the
second round. A further interview schedule was designed based on the
themes identied in the rst round. The second round of Delphi in-
terviews was carried out between December 2020 and January 2021,
following which a nal report was generated. Interviews were con-
ducted until theoretical saturation of themes was reached (Guest, Bunce,
& Johnson, 2006). Overall, the two-rounded Delphi study, including the
time for data analysis and report drafting, lasted ve months.
2.4. Data analysis
Microsoft Stream recordings were deidentied and transcribed
verbatim. Nonverbal cues, pace and emphasis were deemed less
important and were not transcribed as participants had sufcient time,
knowledge, experience, and effective communication skills. Transcripts
were checked against the respective video recordings by the rst author
for accuracy. Deidentied transcripts were imported into QSR NVivo
(Version 12), a qualitative data analysis software package. Themes were
identied from the data using an inductive thematic coding approach
(Braun & Clarke, 2006) to identify, analyse, and report patterns within
the data (Flick, 2014). A preliminary list of codes was developed by both
authors which included the identication of broader themes: pre--
requisites to establish FSRA; Role of FSRA; Drivers of FSRA; Operational
challenges; and Flaws in the operational structure. Transcripts were further
coded by the rst author using the initial list following the six stages
identied by Braun and Clarke (2006). Upon completion of coding, the
authors reviewed the outputs any disagreements were resolved
Fig. 1. Research process.
Adapted from Wu et al., 2021.
R. Nayak and L. Jespersen
Food Control 142 (2022) 109220
through discussion until consensus was reached in a manner similar to
the approach adopted in Underwood and Waterson (2014). Table 2
highlights the coding framework developed from a preliminary list of
codes. Names of the four participants were anonymised (i.e., P1, P2, P3
and P4).
2.5. Ethics approval
This research received ethics approval from the relevant ethics
committee where the primary author was employed at the time of data
collection. Written informed consent was obtained from all participants.
3. Results
The subsequent subsections present the framework for a maturity
assessment tool identied through inductive thematic coding of the data
collected from two the Delphi rounds.
3.1. Pre-requisites to establish FSRA
Participants in this study agreed that pre-requisites were essential
building blocks enabling the functioning of FSRA. They helped to build
and maintain coherent and purposeful agencies, which consequently
aided the FSRA in dening and achieving its goals, vision, and mission.
They dened the duties and responsibilities of the stakeholders, and
encourages the establishment of adequate guidelines to ensure inclu-
sivity and effective control of food safety:
“… its almost like all pre-requisites have equal importance. Pre-requisites
lay out what each agency does, and their responsibilities. (P2)
It [pre-requisites] lay out a framework for how all [regulatory] agencies
are going to collaborate, whether it is through a central competent au-
thority or through local, regional, and so on. It determines how it all ts
together …” (P1)
3.1.1. Equivalence in standards
There is a need for harmonisation of global food safety and trading
standards. Equivalence of standards may occur either at a global or a
regional level through partnerships within geographical regions with at
least two other neighbouring countries:
The lack of consistency was the bane of my existence because it is so
hard to have a large inspection workforce [across the country], all
operating the same way.(P4)
The more senior people who produce codes of practice and guidance
notes for inspectors on how to do their job should be put together in a
room, with representatives from all different regions, to develop guidance
or codes of practice by getting everybody to buy into it Everybody
agrees how it [food inspection] is done, and the mechanism of awarding
scores and so on …” (P2)
Participants agreed on the inuence of equivalence on consistency in
regulatory enforcement. It was highlighted that the same transnational
organization may be held to different standards in different parts of a
country, leading to confusion and poor food safety outcomes:
Consistency is terribly important when it comes to the enforcement of
regulations. If you have Company X in the north and south of a country,
and they have been inspected by [food safety] inspectors to completely
different standards of the legislation, then you [stakeholders] will be in
Consistency of enforcement is the job of the central competent au-
thority. They must ensure consistency to guarantee an oversight of the
whole food chain, and to make certain that they can look at how food
laws are consistently enforced.(P3)
3.1.2. Knowledge
FSRA stakeholders must make use of information generated by of-
cial controls with the agency acting as a body that supports interaction
between various stakeholders, contributing to the drafting of policy and
legislation leading to improved and targeted food control activities. This
Table 1
Interview schedule used in Round 1 of the Delphi study.
Section 1 Prole
You will be asked these questions during the one-to-one interview. The questions
will be designed to collect some demographic information.
Section 2 Landscape
The questions listed below are designed to seek your opinion. Responses will be
collected for each one during the virtual meeting. Please do not feel limited in the
length or style of your answers.
Questions Guide
What is your broad opinion of the
structure of food safety regulatory
Panellists may comment on as many
regulatory bodies as they have
knowledge of
What are the key drivers of food safety
regulatory bodies?
Are these drivers country-specic?
What impacts the performance of
regulatory bodies?
What operational challenges do food
safety regulatory bodies encounter on a
day-to-day basis?
Are these operational challenges
Difculty with compliance
Inadequate stafng
Communication barriers
Governance issues
Inadequate policies
If you can, please give examples that
demonstrate that food safety
regulatory encounter challenges on a
day-to-day basis.
Have you worked in helping establish
food safety regulatory bodies?
If yes, which country/agencies have
you worked with?
Competence check question
Section 3 Main body
Questions Guide
In your opinion, what are the pre-
requisites for establishing a regulatory
Are there any pre-requisites that are
specic to food safety regulatory
What is the role of a food safety
regulatory body?
What is the process of establishing a food
safety regulatory body?
Does this process vary based on the
If you can, please discuss a case to
demonstrate the steps taken to
establish a food safety regulatory body.
Could you list the aws (if any) in the
operational structure of food safety
regulatory bodies that you are familiar
Table 2
Coding framework.
Macro-codes Micro-codes
Environment Economic
Public health
Operations management Agency structure
Informal markets
Management and Leadership
Appeals process
Pre-requisites Equivalence in standards
Legal authority
R. Nayak and L. Jespersen
Food Control 142 (2022) 109220
would help eliminate assumptions and false expectations:
“… the absence of something does not assume that something is correct. It
is the role of regulatory agencies to ensure that correct knowledge is freely
disseminated within the system to make things clearer in the market. We
need a system to get rid of assumptions and unwanted expectations and
manage the number of expectations.(P1)
3.1.3. Legal authority
Regulatory agencies must have legal authority based on a well-
dened legislative framework and policy drafted from both, a legal
and technical perspective. The framework should mandate legal re-
sponsibilities of the various agencies including details around frequency
of inspections and actions to be taken in the event of non-compliance:
A clear policy guidance is required for food safety and quality, and not
just food control as it in across most countries. (P2)
The legislative framework should lay out what each agency does, and
their responsibilities. One day there might be ten people selling in your
market, another time there might be a hundred. The number should not
make a difference as long as the FSRA is able to deal with it and provide
factual evaluations this can be achieved through a well-dened and
consistent regulatory framework.(P4)
If they [food businesses] have a history of non-compliance, FSRA in-
spectors must have some guidance to decide the frequency with which to
inspect said food business. They should be able to increase inspections if
required, and once sustained compliance has been reached, they should
also be able to reduce the frequency of inspections. (P1)
Participants believed that FRSA must be provided with an evaluation
framework that they have been involved in co-designing to evaluate
effectiveness of interventions. Co-design was deemed as important to
ensure optimal scope of the regulatory framework:
It is important to be able to and know how to measure success of in-
terventions inspectors may put in place you need something like pro-
gram logic to dene the outcome or intent. The tool needs to be consistent
and transparent to the people. The evaluation framework must be appli-
cable for between three and ve years. (P2)
Regulatory frameworks must have a specic scope. The number of op-
erations eligible within the scope must be clearly dened. This would act
as an effectiveness measure for regulatory agencies. We must ensure, for
example, that our exports are not bypassing the Commonwealth systems
as otherwise we risk making the system redundant. (P3)
FRSA must be able to provide licenses, prosecute and charge fees. To
do this, there needs to be a legal framework to ensure transparency
regarding the amount charged, and efciency in the utilisation of the
money received:
Nuancing and sophistication is extremely important. FSRA, and in-
spectors by extension, must be able to license, audit, report, charge a fee
and prosecute food businesses. They must be able to show that they money
they collected as being used to inform education and/or training, and to
develop differential systems [the ability to develop additional customised
options to the ones mentioned in the guidance]. If they are unable to do so,
it could be a sign of an immature organisation. (P2)
However, there was an acceptance among participants about the
existence of unregulated food markets. The common consensus was that
FSRA must be able to work with such markets to ensure the trade of safe
and high-quality food:
You will always have a regulated and non-regulated aspect to food
supply. People may sell various products through these markets, which is
why it is important for FSRA to have oversight of all such establishments
Not regulated does not mean bad it just means that something is not
being captured.(P2)
In country X, un-regulated markets are allowed to setup shop at the
basement levels of malls. This means food businesses are given a chance to
setup shop in a legal manner through the issuing of licenses in a dened
[closed] setting [environment]. This is benecial for food businesses op-
erators, public health outcomes as well as consumers as businesses owners
can trade, inspectors are able to ensure the trade of safe and high-quality
food in hygienic environments, and consumers are able to access tradi-
tional street food. Licensing is surely one of the building blocks of a
mature regulatory culture.(P4)
Overly prescriptive regulations were seen to be tedious and more of a
hindrance in effectively managing food safety. Participants felt the need
for there to be exibility in regulatory design to allow businesses and
regulators adopt a proactive approach to food safety, and the ability to
design supportive policies.
I am a big proponent of making sure that the law has exibility built in so
that an agency has the ability to interpret it according to the case they are
dealing with. For example, a law stating that a business cannot sell unsafe
food is better than a law stating that a business cannot sell food stored at
room temperature for X number of days. Hence, the less prescriptive, the
more exibility it provides in terms of being proactive and coming up with
supportive policies.(P4)
3.1.4. Ownership
Participants agreed food safety was a collaborative effort and not just
the food safety regulatorsresponsibility, but also of food businesses.
Collaborative working between regulators, food business operators, the
central competent authority, and local/regional authorities is really
important. Only in an immature setup would agencies be working inde-
pendent of each other and prioritise protecting their turf. The role of the
food control agency should be about assisting. (P1)
It is important for stakeholders to be able to have dened roles and re-
sponsibilities, with the ability to communicate with each other openly. It
would be essential for them to share and understand how a problem was
overcome, and how it affected the business. This would help them get
ownership of food safety-related issues.(P2)
Participants stated that food businesses that owned food safety were
able to proactively identify risks (with oversight from food safety in-
spectors). Further, this enabled allocation of the required resources to
mitigate identied risks.
If a business has the education to perform its own risk assessment ac-
tivities, they would then be able to identify in advance where more re-
sources are required, even if this was not possible immediately. This would
help them mitigate against the risks through detailed planning. (P2)
There was an emphasis on using the FAO and WHOs (2019) shared
model of ownership to allocate responsibilities to various stakeholders
responsibility of food safety lay with food businesses while food safety
inspectors were responsible for providing guidance to help food busi-
nesses achieve their food safety targets, and regulating food safety.
I would be a fan of a more independent oversight role for regulatory
agencies, with [food businesses] having more of a responsibility regarding
managing food safety. The framework mentioned in the FAOs 2019
report must be used to share ownership of food safety. This is the only way
food safety could be managed in a sustainable manner. (P3)
The role of the regulatory agency should be to provide industry guidance,
support industry practice, help trade associations, and form [successful]
public-private partnerships. Successful [public-private] partnerships have
in the past led to higher rates of industry compliance because they feel
educated in their own industry and by their own trade associations.(P4)
Ownership of food safety at the political level was identied as an
essential criterion to reduce the number of food safety incidents.
R. Nayak and L. Jespersen
Food Control 142 (2022) 109220
Political institutions were deemed to be reactive in their approach to
food safety as they were usually insensitive to issues surrounding man-
aging food safety until it became a national incident.
Politicians get a bit insensitive to food safety issues. They wait for
something big to happen, which leads to them being dragged into it and
being made to feel vulnerable, to take measures such as increase funding
temporarily for the responsible agency to deal with the incident. (P3)
Politicians are often choosing between food safety programs and health
governance policies. This leads to lesser funding being allocated to food
safety programs as a lot of governments swing to the health side. (P2)
You need champions at the ministerial level who are willing to stick their
necks out and support food safety and be able to discuss the technical
details of endorsing and supporting to provide the required resources.
3.2. Operations management
Participants believed efcient and well-designed operations man-
agement systems were essential for the everyday functioning of FSRA:
It is important for there to be robust operations management systems to
carry out essential functions such as reviews, assessments, authorisations,
inspections, enforcement, and the development of regulations and guide-
3.2.1. Agency structure
Participants opined that an integrated operations structure would
allow for conict resolution to take place in a timely and systematic
manner. Additionally, an integrated structure would allow stakeholders
to work together and carry out function across the ‘farm-to-retailer
chain, allowing for risk assessments based on a systems and cooperative
Some ministries might not have any food safety authorities in certain
areas of the food system (e.g., farms). However, there is always an
agency that works with farms. It would then be useful for the FSRA to
work with such an agency/ministry to help put programs in place for
farmers to carry out risk assessments collaboratively with food safety
inspectors you can never get away from the fact that agencies will have
to deal with internal dynamics to get buy-in there will always be a need
for some type of integration.(P3)
By law, some ministries such as ministries of agriculture are not allowed
to take food safety regulatory actions on farms. However, it would be
helpful for the safety and sustainability of the food system to involve and
incentivise an agency that is able to assess food safety, and educate
stakeholders (e.g., farmers) to look for best practices. Another role of
FSRA in this context could be to put pressure along the entire [food]
3.2.2. Autonomy
Autonomy, which is ‘the right to self-govern through integrated
functioning without coercion from external bodies (Carver & Scheier,
2000), was deemed to be a key requirement for FSRA to not be
controlled and/or heavily inuenced by prevailing geopolitical cli-
mates. Participants argued that central political authorities should not
have the power to inuence the functioning and decision-making ability
of FSRA:
“… it is not very mature of a political authority to control the job roles of a
[food] safety inspector. Quite often, changing political parties leads to a
change in the senior leadership within FSRA. This is not a sign of a mature
national food safety governance system as every new politically appointed
leader brings with them their own views on how the agency should run,
and the powers granted to each individual.(P3)
Co-design of best practiceand stakeholder buy-in was viewed as a
key component of an autonomously operating FSRA:
It is crucial that regulations are not implemented in a vacuum it is
useful to get stakeholder buy-in to develop best practice guidance through
a system of co-design. You have got to have a wide range of people in the
room with a diverse set of expertise while writing the policy. Co-design
also helps with effective communication as when multiple stakeholders
have been a part of the policy design, they will be more effective at
communicating [the message].(P3)
3.2.3. Informal markets
Participants opined that while informal markets comprised of a
diverse group of stakeholders, it was important to work with all stake-
holders to codesign codes of practice to ensure food safety as polices
designed in siloed systems struggle to garner buy-in and compliance:
You have informal markets which comprise of market traders as-
sociations, people making food at home and all the other people who own
stalls and work in informal [food] markets. There are also policy and
regulatory people who put codes of practice in place to ensure food and
consumer safety The way forward is for policy and regulatory stake-
holders to work with all the other stakeholders. (P2)
Additionally, participants felt that codesign would lead to identi-
cation of training needs:
By working together, it would help people in leadership and management
roles identify training needs and the support required for people selling in
informal markets.(P1)
Previous work done by various governments has led to the development
of effective training programmes on hygiene and food safety. The aim of
these programmes was to create an awareness of the basics of food safety,
washing in clean water, not contaminating cooked and non-cooked foods
…” (P3)
As opposed to penalising informal markets, it was deemed to be
necessary to accept their operations and aid in their establishment
within an easy-to-inspect environment:
Singapore is a good example where street traders have been given space
within closed markets at the basement level of large shopping centres. The
basements of these stores is usually full of traditional street stalls. This is a
good way of rst giving them hygiene and food safety training, and slowly
bringing them within the remit of the regulatory world. (P2)
An alternative to shopping centres included charging street traders a
licencing fee as a means of self-regulation within this sector. Addition-
ally, licensing was viewed as a method of being able to locate various
street traders:
“… start by having a street traders fee, making it mandatory for these
operations to be registered. This would not only lead to inspectors not
having to shut down these businesses, but also create a level-playing eld
where traders will self-regulate. Self-regulation would involve them
ensuring that other operations such as their having a license too. Providing
licenses would help inspectors know the location of these operations.
3.2.4. Management and leadership
A robust structure to manage collaborative operations between food
safety and regulatory departments and government bodies was deemed
to be critical to food safety governance:
“… there is always a healthy tension between the departments and gov-
ernment bodies that have responsibility for food control. They will always
exist, but a mature system would be one in which they operate together
through some form of a management structure.(P2)
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Food Control 142 (2022) 109220
Enthusiasm and commitment from high level management was
viewed as essential to get buy-in from other stakeholders. Active
involvement by senior leaders was also identied as a critical factor to
promote a positive and strong culture of food safety within FSRA:
You need your high-level management team to be able to motivate you,
and to be able to talk to other stakeholders such as ministers to manage
change effectively. Things will not work out if senior leaders are hesitant
to take part in implementing a culture of owning food safety and its impact
on public health.(P1)
Once a concept or an approach has been discussed, it is important for
senior leaders to develop it further by viewing it as a project that is close to
their heart. This then needs to be conveyed to the rest of the team.(P4)
Career development and making the eld of food safety inspections
appealing was deemed to be an essential role of the leadership team.
Continuous professional development was viewed as key to retaining
“… employees should be able to identify where working for an agency will
take them, and the opportunities they will get along the way. It is also
important to provide them with career development opportunities to
improve their resume and get practical experience. Having a mentor to
learn from is essential to be able to recruit high-quality staff. (P1)
Consistency in stafng is important as otherwise the number of food
businesses increases while the number of inspectors reduces, adding
pressure on employees.(P3)
Participants opined that senior leadership needed to comprise of a
diverse set of stakeholders, i.e., not just those who had management
degrees as this would help the management team understand multiple
perspectives prior to implementing policy change:
“… I liked the idea of the appointment of senior people from a diverse
background in these agencies. Senior leadership teams should include
scientists, food safety specialists, medical doctors, and other people that
are knowledgeable in science and have good management leadership
Budget constraints were identied as common issues across the
world, leading to a reduction in the number of food safety inspectors and
the amount of resources allocated per inspection team. Borrowing of
resources, including personnel, was seen as an effective and tried-and-
tested method to overcome this limitation. There were two advantages
to adopting such as approach: (1) the FSRA would not have to recruit
more employees while having to stay operational; and (2) people from
multiple agencies would develop transferable skills which is a key to
their career development:
Staff sharing is quite common as it is impossible to have all the expertise
within one department with a limit budget. This also gives the staff to get a
change of environment and gives them the opportunity to learn something
new. Quite often, it helps to keep them on their toes. In essence, you
borrow them and let the other department borrow your staff [when
required], and at the end of task, they can go back to working for their
parent department.(P1)
FSRA often borrow epidemiologists, even if it just to go out for lunch.
This time lunchtime meeting and knowledge exchange programme leads to
other teams learning about epidemiologists work and their areas of
concern. This helps all teams stay vigilant. (P3)
Hiring people for leadership positions should not be based solely on
their degrees, but also on their experience:
Looking at peoples backgrounds often acts as a limitation while hiring
someone in a leadership position. Mature FSRA often have people with
experience in leadership roles as opposed to only people who have a
Masters degree. There needs to be a balance between level of education
and experience.(P3)
3.2.5. Appeals process
A system that was found to be lacking in FSRA across the world was a
robust and transparent process for appealing prosecutions. Participants
stated that it was important for there to be an appeals system for food
businesses to defend themselves in court:
“… this is where the food regulatory system has been found to be non-
compliant. When businesses are going to be prosecuted, there seldom is
a known process of appeal. An immature food system will not have a
process in place for food business operators to defend themselves in
A dispute resolution system is a must. This must be a government-
mandated requirement so that all disputes are able to be resolved with
an independent arbitrary inspector. If the business wins the appeal, the
regulatory agency should pay the ‘dispute resolution process, and if not,
the food business operator.(P4)
3.2.6. Resources
Engagement tools available to regulators needed to offer a certain
degree of autonomy and ownership. Existing tools were viewed to be
blunt and a tick-box exercise:
“… regulators have very few engagement tools and they are blunt. Most
tools provide you with too many instructions which ends up with busi-
nesses always getting licenses, despite inspectors picking up on non-
compliances. However, they are unable to act on this as they must stick
to the instructions provided to them by the tool. Most of them fail to allow
the inspector to engage the food business operator and can be quite un-
Tools that enable education, training and promote engagement must be
used by regulators and inspectors.(P3)
Training provided by regulators for inspectors was viewed as critical
in shaping the quality of inspections carried out:
“… because money is an issue, regulatory bodies always try to nd
training that is cheaper. However, it is important that a regulatory body
thinks about what and why they are launching training before they launch
it. If the training is not relevant, it shows in the nations public health
The quality of training shows the culture within the FSRA. Inspection
bodies have struggled with providing adequate and relevant training this
makes the outcomes of these inspections poor in reliability and validity. As
a lot of the work involves managing risk, there needs to be more than an
internal audit form. It is important to develop training programmes after
observing inspections and audit results.(P4)
There was a consensus about the need for a robust IT system and a
strategy for innovation. It was deemed to be an area that was often found
lacking in many countries. Missing or faulty IT systems were seen to act
as barriers to effective inspections. One of the participants felt that IT
was as important as developing training programmes:
“… IT systems are very important. Up until ve years ago, IT was not a
priority area for many FSRA. However, the culture is changing slowly. IT
might be as important as training as it makes the inspection more effec-
Innovation was deemed to be important to help eliminate monotony.
Additionally, this would help inspectors to be vigilant for new non-
compliance behaviours and patterns:
“… this is applicable for frontline staff where they look at the same
processes which makes the audit process quite monotonous. Modernisa-
tion of inspection system through innovation is key, especially in the meat
sector. This would enable inspectors to watch out for new non-compliance
behaviour patterns.(P3)
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Food Control 142 (2022) 109220
Inspector salaries were viewed to be menial compared to equivalent
jobs in other industries. This was associated with inspectors moving to
the private sector as consultants:
“… funding needs to take account of how much staff are paid. FSRA must
make a case based on competency to show that inspectors are not ‘low-
skilled workers, and that this must be reected in their salaries and
benets. They must be paid as much as scientists. There are instances
where a robust case presented to the civil services has led to a higher pay
In addition to government funding, licensing was perceived to be an
efcient method of generating a revenue for the FSRA. Money collected
from such programs needed to go to the FSRA and not the government:
“… in one of the initial models, the government was paying 97% of the
budget to oversee and inspect the dairy industry and the industry was
paying about 3% through fees. This was out of balance for the type of
inspections being carried out. When the leadership changes, another
model was adopted where 76% was government funding and 24% was
licensing fees and other add-ons. This made the operations more sus-
“… money should be collected in the form of licensing fees, service fees or
through a registration program. Money collected from here should not go
to the government but stay with the regulatory agency. If not, the agency
would either end up losing the money to the healthcare sector or ghting
with the federal government [or its equivalent] for allocation fair allo-
cation of money collected by them.(P3)
Resource allocation must be carried out based on the outcomes of
risk assessments. This would help efcient management of limited re-
sources and would prohibit overspending on low-risk activities:
You identify where your high risks are, and you make sure that you are
not wasting resources on low-risk activities.(P3)
Education at university through a process of curriculum co-design
was seen to be an important resource for FSRA:
An immature system would be burdened with providing basic education
on food safety and hygiene to food safety inspectors, while a mature
system would be able to recruit highly educated staff. (P1)
To be able to access educated staff, it is important for the FSRA to be able
to work with higher education providers. Curriculum and programmes
must be developed through a method of co-design. this would reduce the
amount of time spent providing training after recruiting inspectors.
Additionally, it would benet national public health outcomes. (P3)
3.3. Environmental factors
Factors that were external to the FSRA were perceived to heavily
inuence the operations of regulatory agencies:
It is almost like any of the other drivers that inuence the functioning of
FSRA they are of equal importance. It is important to account for these
factors and adopt a systems perspective while auditing and improving the
maturity of FSRA and national food systems.(P4)
The most mature FSRA would be able to navigate the science, the in-
dustry, the political masters, and get to good food safety outcomes and
decision-making outcomes …” (P1)
3.3.1. Economic
Robust food control systems were viewed as a requirement for in-
vestment by trading partners as it determined the level of condence in a
nations food safety management system:
“… if your trading partners do not have condence in your overall food
control system, the nation will nd it hard to trade. (P2)
“… food control agencies ensure food safety control in the entire agri-food
system this includes foods of animal origin. Hence, investors judge the
safety of the food they agree to trade based on an audit of the exporting
nations food safety management system.(P4)
3.3.2. Political
Participants agreed that FSRA and politics were closely linked. The
relationship was such that the government inuenced the goals and
approach adopted by the FSRA as the formed funded the latter (i.e.,
FSRA depended on the government for its survival):
“… when governments are paying for this service, you cannot avoid
politics it is naïve to think that FSRA are not going to be inuenced by
politics. Hence, FSRA often have food policy shops within them where
scientic content is twisted into material that politicians can understand.
However, the need for politicians to stay independent of scientic
proceedings and activities was highlighted as a critical factor in the
success/failure of FSRA:
“… politicians must stay out of the science, and they have to exclude
themselves from the risk-based decision-making process. Most politicians
prefer this as they like to stay out of trouble. However, it is also important
to keep them in the loop and provide them with regular updates. (P3)
3.3.3. Public health
Collaborative working with the public health sector was deemed as
an important pathway for managing foodborne illnesses during an
Working with the public health sector with respect to foodborne illnesses
is critical for effective management of public health. This includes active
participation in outbreak control teams where during a national outbreak,
the team along with actors from the public health unit, sit at the table and
provide multiple perspectives on methods of protecting people. (P2)
Usually, the public health unit fail to understand the food sector well
enough. This is something that needs working on as a cohesive and open-
minded approach will help to protect the people better. (P4)
4. Discussion
This paper presents the rst stage of work being undertaken to
develop and evaluate a maturity framework designed to assess and
benchmark the effectiveness, ability to achieve continuous improve-
ment, and optimise processes and functioning of food safety regulatory
and enforcement agencies across the world. The following section pre-
sents an overview of the framework for the maturity model identied
and establishes two of the ve stages of maturity for each dimension: (a)
Stage 1 building blocks of an immature FSRA; and (b) Stage 5 building
blocks of a mature FSRA.
4.1. Summary of ndings
Overall, food safety regulators were in strongly in favour of devel-
oping a benchmarking and evaluation framework for food safety regu-
latory and enforcement agencies. Challenges such as dening globally
applicable measures, buy-in from specialised agencies and senior man-
agement, and the inuence of politics were identied as some of the
barriers in assessing the maturity of FSRA. The ndings from the study
are summarised in Table 3 in terms of the challenges and future op-
portunities of assessing the maturity of FSRA.
4.2. Pre-requisites to establish FSRA
Pre-requisites are essential building blocks that need to be achieved
R. Nayak and L. Jespersen
Food Control 142 (2022) 109220
to enable basic functioning of FSRA.
4.2.1. Equivalence in standards
The principle of equivalence enjoys broad consensus among inter-
national health organisations (Lines, 2006). However, the lack of har-
monisation of standards across the world has enabled governments,
traders, and certication bodies to develop complex pathways to facil-
itate trade at the international (macro-) and national (meso-) levels
(Pekdemir, 2018; Winickoff & Klein, 2011). Although this model has not
yet been experimented with in the food safety domain, the model has
been met with success in the organic standards domain as it has helped
countries manage complex regulatory realities (Bowen & Hoffman,
2015). The equivalence in standards dimension accounts for micro-(-
local)/meso-level food system standards, regulations and audits which
are not in cohesion with wider requirements (at the meso- or
macro-levels) (stage 1) or food systems with identical standards, tech-
nical regulations, and conformity assessment requirements (audits)
based on the principles of the Codex Alimentarius (stage 5).
4.2.2. Knowledge
Knowledge in the regulatory world comprises of: (1) scientic
soundness; (2) ability to incorporate risk analysis principles; and (3)
keeping up-to-date with new scientic developments and innovations
with the aim of continuous improvement (FAO & WHO, 2019b). The
knowledge dimension accounts for a food safety regulatory system where
stakeholders may or may not attend regular training sessions and
continuous professional development courses (stage 1) or a food safety
regulatory system which makes use of information generated by ofcial
controls, supports interactions between stakeholders, contributing to the
drafting of policy an legislation leading to an improved targeted food
control activities (FAO & WHO, 2019b) (stage 5).
4.2.3. Legal authority
The degree of clarity of a nations law and legal framework de-
termines the extent of implementation and compliance with it. Poorly
drafted laws gives rise to ambiguity in interpretation and poor imple-
mentation (FAO & WHO, 2019a). The Codex Alimentarius states that
legislation must clearly distribute obligations and rights to the respon-
sible stakeholders with clearly dened goals and objectives (Ref. para 38
of CAC/GL 822013 Codex Alimentarius Commission, 2013). The legal
authority dimension accounts for erroneously designed statements of
legislation providing inaccurate interpretations and a lack of represen-
tation (stage 1) or legislation drafted from a legal and technical
perspective through constant review and amendments with equal dis-
tribution between primary and secondary legislation meeting the
CAC/GL 822013 requirements (stage 5). Primary legislation encom-
passes establishments of mandates and functions relating to funda-
mental rights, whereas secondary legislation encompasses operational,
administrative, and technical details which build on and remain within
the remit of the primary legislation. A mature legislative framework is
one which evolves with time without having to be re-examined by
Parliament (FAO & WHO, 2019a).
4.2.4. Ownership
Food safety is not just the responsibility of food safety regulators but
also of food businesses. The FAO and WHO report (2019) places
emphasis on the need for a shared model of ownership of food safety -
one in which food businesses are responsible for food safety, while food
safety inspectors are responsible for providing guidance to help food
businesses achieve this target. Ownership also has other benets such as
a positive attitude towards food safety by staff, a greater uptake of new
food safety initiatives, and correct reporting of food safety incidents. It
also leads to an increase in accountability. The ownership dimension
accounts for a food system in which food safety is the sole responsibility
of FSRA (stage 1) or a food system in which there is active collaboration,
commitment towards food safety, open communication, planning,
transparency and accountability by industry and regulatory stake-
holders (stage 5).
4.3. Operations management
Operations involve the administration and everyday functioning of
FSRA which leads to the creation of a high level of efciency of functions
such as reviews and assessments, authorisations, inspections, enforce-
ment, and the development of regulations and guides. Operations in the
FSRA world involves both clerical as well as strategic functioning roles,
and in most cases, involves a transition from clerical to strategic func-
tioning due to the adoption of technology and management of central-
ised processes.
4.3.1. Agency structure
Structure within regulatory agencies is important to carry out the
functions (i.e., goals) assigned by governments in ensuring public health
and trade efciency. A well-dened structure also allows for conict
resolution in a timely and a systematic manner. In an ideal world, it
would be highly efcient if responsibilities for two or more goals is
assigned to one agency (Wall & Eisenbeis, 2000). However, limited re-
sources and increased bureaucracy within centralised governance sys-
tems means that it is difcult to assign multiple goals to one regulatory
agency. The agency structure dimension accounts for agri-food supply
chain-related regulatory agencies within countries that do not work in
cohesion with each other to achieve food security related targets (stage
1) or those which work in cohesion with each other, codesign policies
based on a systems thinking philosophy, and resolve conicts through
open conversations, while working towards a common goal of food se-
curity (stage 2).
4.3.2. Autonomy
Autonomy, which is the right to self-govern through integrated
functioning without coercion from external bodies (Carver & Scheier,
2000), is a key requirement in regulatory agencies as it promotes hori-
zontal coordination between the various stakeholders of these agencies.
Regulatory agencies, including the FSRA, often seek enhanced auton-
omy from political leadership and market actors within the framework
dened by central political authorities (Christensen & Lægreid, 2007).
The autonomy dimension accounts for both, FSRA whose day-to-day
Table 3
Opportunities and challenges of assessing the maturity of food safety regulatory
and enforcement agencies.
Opportunities and positives Challenges
Participants agreed for the need to help
national food safety regulatory and
enforcement agencies evaluate their
maturity and move towards becoming
more mature organisations.
Potential resistance from national and
international bodies who identify
themselves as mature based on the
outcomes of evaluations from other
(more basic) tools.
Harmonisation of global food safety and
trading standards was seen as a
priority to enable efcient trade and
protection of public health.
Conicting priorities (trade vs public
health) and resource limitations may
make it harder to secure buy-in from
senior leadership.
Collaborative working between
departments was already a core part of
various regulatory and enforcement
agencies, including food, although it
might be occurring unofcially.
Existence of multiple tools aiming to
assess food control systems could lead to
confusion and selective participation
participants felt the need for
collaborative working between authors
of existing tools to develop one
comprehensive and practically
applicable tool.
Successful operational models existed
where informal markets were being
regulated and evaluated for food safety
and hygiene practices. It would
therefore be easier to adopt and/or
further develop such models in other
parts of the world.
Mitigating the inuence of politicians/
politics on FSRA operations was viewed
as a critical challenge across most
regulatory and enforcement agencies at
a global scale.
R. Nayak and L. Jespersen
Food Control 142 (2022) 109220
activities are heavily managed by central political authorities and
market actors, as well as political authorities who despite abstaining
from individual cases strengthen their role as general regulators through
the formulation of excessive laws (leading to confusions in dening
tasks, objectives, and responsibilities) (stage 1) or FSRA and political
authorities with good governance structures where practice is consistent
with the administrative model leading to a balance between account-
ability and autonomy (stage 5).
4.3.3. Informal markets
Informal food markets are often comprised of small-scale owner
operated enterprises (e.g., street traders and hawkers) who sell a variety
of food products (Wegerif, 2020). These enterprises often have a small
workforce (as small as one employee who might be the owner of the
business) and are often managed by relatives of the owner. Informal
markets are often frequented by marginalised communities in devel-
oping countries due to factors such as: (1) favourable geography of
stores; (2) longer operating hours; (3) lower prices compared to re-
tailers; and (4) provision of interest-free credit to frequent customers
(Kazembe, Nickanor, & Crush, 2019; Wegerif & Hebinck, 2016). The
informal markets dimension accounts for FSRA which forcefully shut
such markets through blanket regulations for all street vendors and
hawkers (stage 1) or FSRA who enable the legal and safe functioning of
informal markets within regulated environments or through formalised
licensing procedures (stage 5).
4.3.4. Management and leadership
Organisational hierarchy is often viewed as a necessity due to the
ability of a central decision maker to speed up the decision-making
process, although this might be at the expense of the quality of the so-
lution (Mihm, Loch, Wilkinson, & Hubermna, 2010). Consequently,
hybrid systems are an area of investigation to overcome the challenges
of centralised and decentralised systems. Regardless of the management
model implemented, a robust management structure is essential to help
FSRA function efciently, both as an independent as well as a collabo-
rative agency. The management dimension accounts for FSRA with
poorly dened management structures with neither any guidance/sup-
port for stakeholders along its hierarchical structure (stage 1) or FSRA
with management that actively looks for promoting knowledge devel-
opment and management within its ranks, as well as effective collabo-
rations and resource sharing opportunities with other agencies (e.g.,
public health) (stage 5).
4.3.5. Appeals process
The appeals system is an important procedural mechanism in any
system as it is used to challenge rulings, leading to the system being
viewed as fair and accountable (Common, 2019). The right to appeal to a
higher tribunal, present evidence and perspectives, and the right to
receive a decision based on facts from a tribunal are important aspects of
the rule of law (Waldron, 2011). The appeals process dimension accounts
for food systems where food businesses are unable to appeal FSRAs
rulings in court (stage 1) or food systems with an established dispute
resolution system, either through a tribunal process or through oppor-
tunities for rebuttals with independent arbitrary food safety inspectors
(stage 5).
4.3.6. Resources. Availability of adequate resources as well as effective
resource management is fundamental to enable efcient and effective
governance (Thatcher, Nayak, & Waterson, 2020). In addition to
nancial resources, it is also important to have education and training
design, development and management, and resources for promoting and
adopting technological interventions. The resources dimension accounts
for FSRA with resource asymmetries (stage 1) or FSRA with equal and
adequate distribution of resources (i.e., resources identied in the ISO
21500:2021for effective project management people, facilities,
equipment, training and education materials, infrastructure, and tools)
(stage 5).
4.4. Environmental factors
Environmental factors are those drivers of food safety that are
external the regulatory bodies, i.e., while FSRA might not have any in-
uence on these drivers, the drivers heavily inuence the functioning of
FSRA. FSRA aim to improve food safety-related outcomes of large, me-
dium, small, and micro food businesses all over the world by reducing
unwarranted variation and providing high quality food to all consumers.
Additionally, they aim to reduce the number of non-compliances, in-
crease trade at the local and international levels, and improve overall
public health within and across borders.
4.4.1. Economic
An increase in trade within and between nations leads to globalisa-
tion of economies (Pace & Gephart, 2017). The need for trade at a
global, national, and local level is an economic driver which has the
potential to inuence the mission, vision, and goals of regulatory bodies.
Trading partners play a key role in determining the success and failure of
trade deals between countries. It is essential for trading partners to have
condence in a nations overall food control system. Condence plays a
key role in determining the degree of trust and accountability within the
importing/exporting nations food control system. The economic
dimension accounts for FSRA which are not transparent and with no
clear communication plans with trading nations (stage 1) or FSRA that
account for the importance of trade to a nations economy and promote
open communication with trade partners (stage 5).
4.4.2. Political
Governments, comprising of politicians and lobbyists, often pay for
the services offered by FSRA. Hence, governments possess the ability to
inuence the governance models adopted by these regulatory bodies.
The political dimension accounts for FSRA which are completely inu-
enced by and under the control of governments, without any degree of
autonomy (stage 1) or FSRA with an autonomous governance model,
and one that feeds back to and takes on board suggestions from the
government (stage 5).
4.4.3. Public health
Public health is dened as the science and art of improving the
quality of life by preventing disease and prolonging life through
organised efforts and informed decisions made by (public and private)
organisations, societies, communities and individuals (Acheson et al.,
1998; Winslow, 1920). FSRA are a part of public organisations and are
largely responsible for ensuring the production and distribution of food
that is safe for human consumption. The public health dimension ac-
counts for FSRA that work in siloes on matters concerning food safety
while not interacting with public health authorities (stage 1) or FSRA
that collaborate with other national and local public health authorities
and work actively with outbreak control teams to ensure food and feed
safety, supply chain resilience and public health (stage 5).
5. Conclusions
This study presents regulatorsperspectives on the building blocks of
food safety regulatory and enforcement agencies (FSRA), and the actions
required to help these agencies evolve into mature organisations. The
ndings establish the current diverse regulatory and enforcement
practices of FSRA across the world. The study also highlights current
challenges faced by FSRA, and steps taken to overcome their impact on
public health and trade. The study is signicant as it provides a frame-
work to assess and benchmark the effectiveness, ability to achieve
continuous improvement, and optimise the processes and functioning of
FSRA across the world. Additionally, it provides insights into how FSRA
R. Nayak and L. Jespersen
Food Control 142 (2022) 109220
can effectively manage conicting priorities such as trade and public
health. As the tool is to be used by national FSRA, in future research, it is
vital to evaluate the applicability of the framework through collabora-
tive working with a food safety regulatory and enforcement agency. This
will aid in the development of a maturity scale which can be used by
FSRA to self-evaluate their maturity and identify areas for improvement.
CRediT authorship contribution statement
Rounaq Nayak: Conceptualization, Methodology, Investigation,
Formal analysis, Resources, Visualization, Writing original draft. Lone
Jespersen: Conceptualization, Methodology, Investigation, Resources,
Validation, Writing review & editing.
The authors would like to thank the panel members who participated
in the study for volunteering their time and expertise to provide data and
guidance in this important endeavour.
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Full-text available
A central claim of the NPM doctrine is that public sector organizations will deliver better quality and improve efficiency if managers are given more autonomy in managerial and operational decisions. At the same time the idea is to keep managers under close control, which has led to the introduction of result-control instruments. This balancing strategy is referred to as the paradox of autonomization. There is, however, still scarce knowledge on whether and how the proposed balancing techniques work. Using a unique database on Swedish government agencies this article aims to mitigate this deficiency (N ¼ 1752). A balancing strategy is mainly confirmed, since higher managerial and structural autonomy are balanced with more external results control by government. We show that govern-ments' attempts at more managerial approaches to public service provision in reality add new ex post controls without reducing the old ones. However, policy and financial autonomy are not balanced by increased results control-these dimensions diminish when controlling for budget size. This study is an answer to a general call for more objective measures for evaluating bureaucratic autonomy.
Context: A single, widely accepted definition of sport specialization does not exist. A consensus definition is necessary to guide youth sport stakeholders on issues associated with sport specialization. Objective: The aim of this study was to develop a consensus definition of youth sport specialization and to identify elements that support the construct of specialization. Design: Delphi Study Setting: Directed Surveys Patients or Other Participants: A consensus panel of 17 experts was created to provide a broad multidisciplinary perspective on sport specialization in youth athletes. Data Collection and Analysis: The final definition was developed per an iterative process that involved four rounds of review. A comprehensive review of literature and expert input supported our initial proposed umbrella definition that included six additional elements. The study team reviewed the results after each round and changes were made to the definition based on panel feedback. Main Outcome Measure(s): Panel members were provided with the definition and six elements and then asked to rate each specific to importance, relevance, and clarity using a 4-point Likert scale. Results: In four Delphi consensus rounds, 17 experts reviewed the umbrella definition and six elements before consensus was reached. The umbrella definition and three of the initial six elements achieved >80% agreement for importance, relevance, and clarity after the fourth round of review. The remaining 3 components did not reach >80% agreement even after iterative edits and were removed. The process resulted in a final consensus definition: Sport specialization is intentional and focused participation in a single sport for a majority of the year that restricts opportunities for engagement in other sports and activities. Conclusions: A consensus-based conceptual definition for sport specialization has been developed using a Delphi method. This definition has important implications for clinicians and sports medicine professionals who support youth athletes.
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Foodborne diseases exact a large health toll in low and middle-income countries. We review the empirical research on the safety of food produced and consumed in these settings. We follow the value chain, from consumer demand to agricultural production, to describe existing knowledge and identify gaps for future research. We identify factors that contribute to food safety problems in low and middle-income countries. These factors include: limited consumer awareness and ability to pay for food safety; the lack of incentives to invest in food safety along the food supply chain, from farmers to aggregators, processors, food service providers, and retailers; and weakness of the public institutions responsible for regulatory enforcement. Programs that engage midsize and larger firms in co-regulation and reward farmers and firms for investment in food safety suggest potential ways forward.
Policy responses to the growth of the informal food sector in African cities vary from benign neglect to active destruction. The eradication of street food vending is the dominant mode of governance. Alternative approaches that recognize the inevitability of informality and the role of the sector in making food accessible to the urban poor have begun to emerge. One is an enclose-and-contain model that creates spaces for trading and seeks to confine trading to these spaces through active policing. This strategy has been pursued in Windhoek, Namibia but has been compromised by consumer demand, which is not satisfied by the city’s approved markets, and by the actions of street traders who cluster at key locations and force tacit official recognition. This paper examines the origins and development of the resulting hybrid model of informalized containment, as well as the profile of consumers who patronize both types of markets.
The EFSA BIOHAZ panel published a scientific opinion proposing a new approach in food safety management, adapted to the needs of small retail businesses such as grocery, butcher, bakery, fishmonger and ice cream shops. The opinion is aiming at a more hands-on development and maintenance of their food safety management system, based on prerequisite programs and hazard analysis critical control point-principles. In this paper, the added value of the EFSA opinion is evaluated by comparing requirements with existing legislation and applied guidelines relevant for butchers, and to assess perceptions about introduced changes by this opinion for small independent butcheries in Flanders, Belgium and in North-West England, UK as a case study. Results show that the conditions for flexibilities, as stated in the EFSA opinion, could lead to difficulties in interpretation among Member States. Also, the hazard analysis approach applied in the two main UK guides to good practice appeared to be similar to the simplified approach proposed by EFSA. For Belgium, the main difference is that in the Belgian guide to good practice hazards are ranked and critical control points are identified for the preparation and selling of fresh meat, minced meat and meat preparations. The specification of prerequisite programs and related activities in the EFSA opinion can be an important step towards harmonization among EU Member States. Assessing the perceptions of ten UK and ten Belgian butchers revealed that the hazard analysis approach and the thirteen prerequisite requirements proposed by EFSA, are generally positively experienced by the butchers. However, the introduction of the proposal 'Monthly microbiological tests' to verify cleaning and disinfection activities is rejected by all the Belgian butchers and by the majority of the UK butchers. This proposal will not ease their job and the necessity of these tests should be reconsidered.