Laws and Regulations of Traditional Foods: Past, Present and Future

  • Jamie Gallagher
  • Aideen McKevittEmail author
Part of the Food Engineering Series book series (FSES)


As a symbol of identity, traditional food can constitute a significant element of the culture and heritage of a country regardless of geographical, social, or political differences separating the population (DeSoucey, Am Sociol Rev 75:432–455, 2010). This ‘food identity’ can contribute to international identification and reputation (Takaki, Strangers from a different shore: a history of Asian Americans. Updated and rev., Little, Brown and Company, Boston, MA, 2012). As well as having a role in generating a sense of identity, the unique characteristics of certain food products can also be leveraged in order to influence consumer behavior and encourage the transfer of cultural heritage across generations and territories (Albayrak and Gunes, African Journal of Business Management, 4(4), 555–561, 2012).

While traditional food remains subject to the same rules and regulatory requirements designed to ensure safety, geographical indications are the main tool that the public sector has developed as a means of safeguarding the integrity of products that have strong and long-standing links to a particular territory. However, this legal construct is also a way to add economic value to these traditional products (Sgarbi and Menasche, Cuadernos de Desarrollo Rural 12:11–31, 2015). In the area of multilateral trade regulation, geographical indications issues are regulated mainly under the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS). However, TRIPS only establishes a common framework, which is then specified, and in some cases elaborated on, in national regulations, bilateral treaties, and regional pacts.

The purpose of this chapter is to trace the emergence of traditional food as an object of regulatory attention, to explore how concepts informing policies designed to regulate traditional foods have evolved, how these concepts are currently expressed in regulatory policies in various jurisdictions around the world, and how these regulatory policies may evolve into the future.


Traditional Foods Globalisation Food Safety Regulation World Trade Organisation Codex Alimentarius Intellectual property EU Geographical indications General food law Novel foods 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Agriculture and Food ScienceUniversity College DublinDublin 4Ireland
  2. 2.School of Biomedical ScienceUlster UniversityColeraineNorthern Ireland

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