International Food Law: How Food Law Can Balance Health, Environment and Animal Welfare
Few aspects of today’s world system demand such urgent response as our ability to produce sustainable
food. Yet at the same time as malnutrition plagues the world, overuse of land, water, and energy in the
agricultural and livestock sectors exacerbates environmental degradation and climate change. This
important book, in its focus on the interrelated topics of food, nutrition, animals, health, and
environment, critically analyses whether the current food production chain – as regulated by domestic,
European, and international food law – is sufficient to guarantee a sustainable food supply, respectful of
the right of future generations to adequate nutrition and a healthy environment.
The book’s chapters, written by eminent scholars from a variety of countries and legal backgrounds –
including leading experts at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) – explore such issues and
topics linked to food production as the following:
– concentrated animal feeding operations;
– relation of human well-being and animal welfare;
– manufacturing, trade, and distribution of food products;
– human rights concepts of right to food and right to health;
– the COVID-19 Pandemic and the One Health Approach;
– genetically modified organisms;
– deforestation, habitat destruction and zoonoses;
– food naming and labelling; and
– food risk management.
Throughout there is reference to an abundance of legislation, treaties, conventions, and case law at
domestic, regional, and international levels, with particular attention to European, US, and World
Trade Organization law and the work of the FAO.
The book clearly demonstrates the necessity for reform of the global system of food production in the
direction of a more sustainable and environment-friendly model. In its authoritative discussion of the
relations among fields of law that are rarely discussed together – food law and the environment, food
law and human rights, food law and animal welfare – this collection of chapters will prove a valuable
resource both for officials working in food governance and security and for lawyers and scholars
concerned with environmental management, sustainable
development, and human rights around the world.
Food safety is subject to World Trade Organization (WTO) sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) disciplines. Establishing discrimination under WTO food safety provisions requires comparison not between the products at issue but between the risks at issue. Therefore food-borne risk is a central element of the food safety regime under the WTO law. To protect human, animal or plant life or health from such risk, WTO members have the right to apply SPS measures with certain discretion. This discretion could be inferred, first, from the fact that food-borne risks may include both territorial conditions relevant to the risks (environmental or geographical, for instance) and at the same time, risks found in products. Moreover the analysis may not be limited exclusively to the present risk; the potential risk should be taken into account as well. Second, the discretion to apply food safety SPS measures could be inferred from broad interpretation of the notion of ‘directly related to food safety’, not limited by an exhaustive list of possible food-borne risks. Third, WTO members have the right to rely on the precautionary principle as a basis for application of SPS food safety measures and finally they may set their appropriate level of protection basing on both quantitative and qualitative aspects.