Published online by Cambridge University Press: 07 May 2021
Abstract: The primary objective of food safety regulation is to reduce the risk of unsafe food making consumers ill. It is not always clear that rules produce the outcomes they aim at, and even when outcomes are achieved overall, it is far from certain that it is necessarily compliance with rules that makes the food safe, or that enforcement was the driving force behind it. Meaningful food safety compliance requires good alignment between regulatory design and desired outcomes. A key question for a policymaker intent on establishing a regulatory regime is “How much compliance will it need?”. This issue of how much compliance is needed to deliver the regulatory objectives is a challenge. While there is a solid body of literature on modern food law, there is less research done specifically on food regulation compliance. Recent research has shown the complexity of enforcement and “regulatory delivery” systems in food, but the link between such enforcement systems and actual compliance is far from simple. Effective food safety compliance requires a complex set of factors – good regulation, well-designed enforcement and, possibly most importantly, competence, knowledge, and understanding of food safety’s importance on the side of food business operators. The food safety regulatory regime presents a vast set of compliance issues, which makes it a useful domain in which to test models of compliance. This chapter discusses some of the existing literature on the topic, sets out this range of compliance issues as they have arisen in practice, and discusses some of the salient points arising.