Food law, ethics, and food safety regulation: Roles, justifications, and expected limits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent food emergencies throughout the world have raised some serious ethical and legal concerns for nations and health organizations. While the legal regulations addressing food risks and foodborne illnesses are considerably varied and variously effective, less is known about the ethical treatment of the subject. The purpose of this article is to discuss the roles, justifications, and limits of ethics of food safety as part of public health ethics and to argue for the development of this timely and emergent field of ethics. The article is divided into three parts. After a short introduction on public health ethics, all levels of food safety processes are described and the role that ethics play in each of these levels is then analyzed. In the second part, different models describing the function of food law are examined. The relationship between these models and the role of ethics of food safety is assessed and discussed in the final part, leading to some relevant comments on the limits of the role and effect of ethics of food safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-278
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Ethics of food safety
  • Food law
  • Food policy
  • Medical ethics
  • Public health ethics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • History
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • General Environmental Science


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