, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 187-191
Date: 24 Jan 2008

Resilience in the US red meat industry: the roles of food safety policy

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We use the case of red meat food safety to illustrate the need to problematize policy. Overtime, there have been numerous red meat scandals and scares. We show that the statutes and regulations that arose out of these events provided the industry with a means of demonstrating safety, facilitating large-scale trade, legitimizing conventional production, and limiting interference into its practices. They also created systemic fragility, as evidenced by many recent events, and hindered the development of an alternative, small-scale sector. Thus, the accumulated rules help to structure the sector, create superficial resilience, and are used in place of an actual policy governing safety. We call for rigorous attention to not only food safety, but also the role and effect of agrifood statutes and regulations in general, and engagement in policy more broadly.