Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics

, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 483–508 | Cite as

Can food safety policy-making be both scientifically and democratically legitimated? If so, how?

  • Erik MillstoneEmail author


This paper provides an analysis of the evolution of thinking and talking about the role of scientific knowledge and expertise in food safety policy-making, and in risk policy-making more generally from the late 19th century to the present day. It highlights the defining characteristics of several models that have been used to represent and interpret the relations between policy-makers and expert scientific advisors and between scientific and political considerations. Both conceptual and empirical strengths and weaknesses of those models are identified, focusing in particular on the ways in which they deal with scientific uncertainties and social choices. By drawing on both empirical evidence and conceptual analysis, a novel and more realistic model is provided along with an account of some conditions for food safety policy-making achieving both scientific and democratic legitimacy.


democratic legitimacy public policy science scientific legitimacy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SPRU – Science and Technology Policy ResearchUniversity of SussexBrightonEngland

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