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The future of food safety and sustainability in globally integrated markets

by Leonardo Borlini in collaboration with Erasmus University of Rotterdam


The project The future of food safety and sustainability in globally integrated markets is part of the broader research of the Erasmus Initiative Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity, which aims at mapping and answering questions to enhance inclusive institutions and to foster sustainable prosperity.

One of the key areas to achieve inclusive prosperity is food safety and sustainability. Various rules to attain these goals are set locally and globally in a mix of private and public regulatory instruments. Regulation concerning the environment, food safety, public health and even human rights is increasingly scrutinized for its compatibility with the law of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Public interest regulation can be challenged by States before the WTO adjudicatory bodies. As the vast majority of states in the world are WTO Members and the conclusion of bilateral and plurilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) is proliferating, the potential implications of this body of law on contemporary legal systems is tremendous.

More generally, the integration of domestic economies into the global economic order has entailed a profound process of transformation of domestic regulatory cultures. In this project, a two-fold set of goals are pursued. On the one hand, the project focuses on the analysis of the legal and institutional mechanisms to enhance the protection of sustainable agricultural practices by mapping these mechanisms, identifying gaps and possible solutions at the intersection of domestic and international level. It also studies the knowledge paradigms could have a transformative potential, so as to gear the system towards sustainable agricultural practices and inclusive prosperity.

On the other hand, the project aims at unveiling how sustainability can be achieved in globalized markets, often regulated by the trade and investment regimes. In this context, we ask: What are the most salient rules in new FTAs relating to food safety and sustainablity and how do they change the current system? To what extent do new FTAs Chapters contribute to enhance food safety and sustainability? And what are the existing stumbling blocks to achieve more sustainable food production systems?