- Thought for food (safety) in the EU: a discourse-analytical approach
- Number of pages
- Warwick: Garnet
- Garnet working papers
- Volume | Edition (Serie)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
This paper seeks to explain the development of a transnational food safety policy approach in
the context of the European Union (EU). The diverse reactions to the series of food scares
over the past decade, such as the discovery of the link between BSE (Bovine Spongiform
Encephalopathy) and the fatal human variant of the disease, a new variant of Creutzfeld
Jakob Disease (nvCJD), suggest that ‘food safety’ bears contextually contingent meanings.
As a consequence, a mere ‘recognition’ of the transnational nature of BSE as a problem is an
insufficient explanation for the swift evolution of an EU-based food safety policy over the
past decade, and the important ways in which food safety policy has come to include
consumer and public health policy.
The existing scholarship presents the policy-making process as linear and based on readily
identifiable problems, rational deliberation, and problem-solving. In contrast, this paper does
not take the notion of ‘food safety’ as given, but rather examines the ways in which the
meaning of ‘food safety’ is constructed, (re-)produced, and negotiated in discursive practices.
By drawing on a discourse-theoretically informed framework, in-depth interviews and textual
analysis, this study inductively distills three central shared understandings, or discursive
categories, that EU food safety policy is based on: the category of the ‘food chain’, the
category of ‘the consumer’, and the notion of being a ‘stakeholder’. It is argued here that the
arguably open nature of these three discursive categories has facilitated the negotiation of a
shared ‘food safety vocabulary’ in the EU context.
- April 2008
If you believe that digital publication of certain material infringes any of your rights or (privacy) interests, please let the Library know, stating your reasons. In case of a legitimate complaint, the Library will make the material inaccessible and/or remove it from the website. Please Ask the Library, or send a letter to: Library of the University of Amsterdam, Secretariat, Singel 425, 1012 WP Amsterdam, The Netherlands. You will be contacted as soon as possible.