Some Questions About the Politics of Food Safety

1.  Food Safety Policy. 

         Why does food safety policy matter?

         How do we see policy? 

         Technical narratives tend to reduce opportunities for democratic participation in policymaking.  Are food safety issues generally conducted through technical narratives?

2.  Complexities of Food Safety Policies. 

         Are most of us stuck with an industrialized food system?

         What drives new developments in the business of food?

         How have we organized the regulation of food safety?

         Is there a consensus on what are the major food safety policy issues?

3. The Food Safety Act of 2010. 

         Who was involved, and who was influential, in the crafting and passage of the recent Act?

         Does passage of the Act suggest there are flaws in the prevailing picture of a polarized Congress, hopelessly deadlocked?

         What are the important policy changes in the Act?

         What are the significant hurdles to successful implementation of the Act? 

4. Science, Risk, and Institutions. 

         Are there legal standards concerning science and risk in food safety policy?

         How is food science funded and organized? 

         What are court standards on science and risk with regards to food safety? 

         Are FDA scientific resources adequate for the agencys responsibilities?

         Is a risk-based approach to food safety neutral with respect to political influence over policy?

5. Chemicals, Toxics, and the Power of the Unseen. 

         How do chemicals and toxics enter the food supply? 

         How thoroughly have we investigated likely hazardous substances in the food supply?

         Do our laws about toxics and hazardous substances (TOSCA, FIFRA, etc.) discourage the study of likely dangerous substances? 

         Will the EUs REACH system of chemical monitoring and testing affect existing US law?

6. Organizing for Food Safety.  

         What do we know about how to organize for food safety?

         How have comparable countries organized food safety policies?

         How have food industry standards, like HACCP and Codex Alimentarius, affected policy debates over the structure of a food safety system?

         Who is influential in food safety policy in the United States?