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‘Food for Thought’: Reconciling European Risks and Traditional Ways of Life

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The European Food Safety Authority marks a new stage in European Union governance. It has no direct regulatory powers, but is entrusted with developing norms of food safety, which are to inform the material content of EC food law. The hope is that its independence and expertise will restore popular confidence both in the EU and in the food we eat. The irreducible nature of lay-expert conflicts about hazard suggests that a more likely scenario is that such disputes become recast as opposition to EC law. Such conflict is most likely to manifest itself in national courts through challenges to or non-compliance with EC law. The current principles for resolution of such conflicts are hopelessly outmoded. The article, therefore, argues for a constitutional resettlement, which sets out principles germane to the nature of the EC regime, namely that of a multi-level regulatory State. It argues for a new defence of regulatory balance. Individuals could argue for the disapplication of EC norms where these violated a valued local regime which had given consideration to the issues raised in the EC legislation and whose positive value to its subjects exceeded its negative impact on the interests protected by the EC legislation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-07-01

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