Private food safety standards, private law, and the EU: Exploring the linkages in constitutionalization

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Private food safety standards regulate significant parts of the global trade in food. The highly effective implementation of those standards in global supply chains by private law means has challenged their legitimacy, however. This Chapter discusses whether and to what extent the European Union and its Member States have sought to engage with private food safety standards, and ‘constitutionalize’ them by encouraging and requiring adherence to good governance norms. The Chapter reveals that the EU plays at least two constitutionalizing roles; first, it provides a basis and structure for private food safety standards around which their procedural and substantive requirements are organized. Second, the EU mediates the development of these standards as a means to ensure compliance with its food safety laws. In fulfilling these roles, the EU is part of an ongoing transnational dynamic that both shapes and contests the legitimacy and constitutional standing of private food safety standards.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe role of the EU in transnational legal ordering
Subtitle of host publication Standards, contracts, and codes
EditorsMarta Cantero Gamito, Hans-W. Micklitz
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar
Number of pages26
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Transnational private regulation
  • Food safety
  • EU food law
  • legitimacy
  • certification


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