Knowledge for Development

European food safety regulation and the developing countries – regulatory problems and possibilities


Date: 04/11/2009


This research paper seeks to identify the legal measures under the EU food safety policy which ‘cause the most problems for developing [country] exporters’ and propose possible solutions. It notes that food safety requirements have been identified as ‘one of the foremost issues affecting exports of agricultural and food products from developing countries’, with shortcomings in compliance that are estimated to cost African exporters over US$1 billion per annum in lost exports. The analysis identified seven key characteristics of the EU food safety regime, among which: its coherence in terms of all foodstuffs, including imported foodstuffs; its comprehensive nature, covering products from farm to fork; and the centrality of consumer protection concerns. It is argued that these characteristics of the EU food safety regime ‘do not take into account the consequences of the food safety regime which go beyond the Community’s borders’. Equally, EU standards do not take into account the different conditions of production and certification existing in developing countries. This, it is held, results in a situation where at times EU food safety standards ‘may constitute a barrier to exports into the Community’.

Author: M. Broberg, Danish Institute for International Studies working paper 2009:09