“The Obama administration appears to have almost no international support for controversial new trade standards that would grant radical new political powers to corporations, increase the cost of prescription medications and restrict bank regulation…”
For the full article: http://huff.to/IzVNyz
For more info: www.ExposeTheTPP.org
Talking about the Affordable Care Act and how it will take people's ability to access most health care away is directly tied to the TPP. I spoke of Obama and neo-liberals deliberately forcing the world to create higher prices for PHARMA but they are doing something more dangerous to your health----the World Health Organization takes exception to just about everything the World Trade Organization is doing. It not only harms people's health, it is creating a disaster of epic proportion as the US spreads food policy that will cripple world food production, control access to food markets, and kill people with food-born disease-vectors.
THIS IS NOT HYPERBOLE AND YOUR NEO-LIBERAL IS PUSHING THESE POLICIES!
FROM BALTIMORE CITY HALL, TO THE MARYLAND ASSEMBLY, TO CONGRESS AND OBAMA-----NEO-LIBERALS ARE CREATING POLICY THAT PLACES PROFIT OVER LIFE.
I would like to note that the article below came with a DO NOT COPY OR DISTRIBUTE WARNING....NOTICE IT IS A PUBLIC DOCUMENT ON FOOD AND TRADE------NOT TOP-SECRET. Please go to this document and see the structuring of US food policy and how it takes the US to developing world standards and defines HARM in ways that make it impossible for the public to seek justice just as they claim they have done with the legal term of 'FRAUD'.....OH, THAT'S TOO VAGUE TO BE PROVEN THEY SAY OF OUTRIGHT HARM!
FOOD FIGHT The U.S., Europe, and Trade in Hormone-treated Beef
Charan Devereaux, Robert Lawrence and Michael Watkins
Case Studies in United States Trade Negotiation: Vol 2 Resolving Disputes (Washington DC: Institute for International Economics) 2006
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Would Undermine Food Safety
The TPP would require us to import meat and poultry that do not meet U.S. food safety standards.
The TPP would require us to allow food imports if the exporting country claims that their safety regime is "equivalent" to our own, even if it violates the key principles of our food safety laws. These rules would effectively outsource domestic food inspection to other countries.
Under TPP, any U.S. food safety rule on pesticides, labeling or additives that is higher than international standards would be subject to challenge as "illegal trade barriers." The U.S. would be required to eliminate these rules and allow in the unsafe food, or we would face trade sanctions.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration already inspects less than 1% of all seafood imports for health hazards. Entering into the TPP with Malaysia and Vietnam, both TPP negotiating parties and major seafood exporters, would increase seafood imports and further overwhelm inspectors' limited ability to ensure the safety of our food. Some TPP countries have serious shrimp and fish safety issues. For example, even with the minimal inspections, high levels of contaminants have been found in Vietnam's seafood.
Under the TPP, food labels could also be challenged as "trade barriers." The TPP would impose limits on labels providing information on where a food product comes from. The TPP also would endanger labels identifying genetically modified foods and labels identifying how food was produced. TPP would expand the limits on consumer labels already included in existing "trade" agreements, like the World Trade Organization (WTO). But already under the WTO, the U.S. dolphin-safe tuna fish label and our country-of-origin meat and poultry labels have been successfully attacked by other countries. And, under TPP, a foreign meat processing or food corporation operating within the United States could directly challenge our policies that they claim undermine their expected future profits - meaning a barrage of new attacks.
Imagine a VISIGOTH-class of lying, cheating, and stealing people wanting only to get richer sitting around a table saying-----THERE ARE TOO MANY PEOPLE IN THE WORLD TAKING TOO MUCH OF OUR WEALTH TO SUPPORT. What would they do to get rid of them? They would ignore all of the scientific research that says using antibiotics and hormones in meat will make people susceptible to mass disease resistance-----as is happening with food crops----and expand the practice all over the world selling it cheaply to the world's lower/middle class.
IF YOU KNOW YOU ARE CREATING A SITUATION OF HARMING YOUR CITIZEN'S ABILITY TO FIGHT DISEASE AND YOU PLACE THAT SITUATION ON STEROIDS-----YOU ARE AN EVIL-DOER!
The TPP has Obama and neo-liberals demanding that the world not only open their markets to US anti-biotic/hormone meat but is teaching nations how to use it in their countries to maximize meat sales.
This is only my opinion as I cannot say this meeting around a table happened-----but the proof is in the pudding----the meat pudding.
ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE – a global food safety problem
Richard Lawley | September 23, 2013 Food Safety Watch
The development of antibiotics in the 1940s led to a revolution in the treatment of infectious diseases. But after more than 60 years of use and misuse, many antibiotics have lost much of their effectiveness as bacteria develop resistance to them. This situation has arisen partly as a result of overuse in clinical medicine, but also as a consequence of the huge quantities of antibiotics used in agriculture, not only to treat infections in animals, but also to increase productivity in the meat industry by promoting animal growth. Antibiotic-resistance is now recognised as a global public health issue and as major food safety problem. Although the EU has taken action to tackle antibiotic resistance, many other countries have not. As demand for cheap meat rises in developing economies, what can the food industry do to help postpone the arrival of a ‘post-antibiotic era’ in medicine?
There is no doubt that the widespread availability of antibiotics since the 1940s has saved the lives of countless people who might otherwise have fallen victim to what are now considered minor bacterial infections. Unfortunately that very availability has also led to decades of what is now considered to be reckless overuse of antibiotics in medicine and in agriculture. The result has been that bacterial pathogens have been continuously exposed to antibiotics for a considerable time and have developed resistance to them. Many antibiotics have become less and less useful as therapeutic agents as resistance in microbial populations has increased. The situation has now reached crisis point as the armoury of effective antimicrobial drugs is depleted and there are worryingly few alternatives in the development pipeline to re-stock it. The World Health Organisation (WHO) now regards antibiotic-resistance as a “global threat”, stating that more than 25,000 people die each year in the EU of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The development and spread of resistance
Antibiotic-resistance is not only a threat to public health but has also become an important food safety issue. This has come about largely because of the widespread use of antimicrobial drugs in agriculture. In many countries, notably the USA, it is estimated that more than half of all antibiotics produced are used by agriculture. Much of the demand is for therapeutic drugs used to treat bacterial diseases like mastitis and respiratory and enteric infections in livestock, but antibiotics are also used at sub-therapeutic levels, both to prevent infection and as animal growth promoters. This latter phenomenon was discovered in the USA more than 60 years ago when poultry fed on the by-products of a fermentation process to produce tetracycline were found to gain weight more rapidly than normal. The mechanism responsible for this effect is still not understood, but may have something to do with the suppression of the normal gut microflora allowing greater nutrient uptake by the animal. The discovery led to widespread incorporation of antibiotics into animal feed at sub-therapeutic levels from the 1950s onwards – a practice that was highly successful in increasing productivity and feed efficiency. In the USA, the quantity of antibiotics used as growth promoters rose by a factor of fifty between 1951 and 1978, while therapeutic use in humans and animals increased only tenfold over the same period. Similar patterns were reported in other countries where intensive livestock farming was developing. At the same time, it became apparent that bacterial isolates from animals and humans were rapidly becoming more resistant to commonly used antibiotics. One report published in the UK in 1961 showed that the proportion of E. coli isolates from poultry resistant to tetracycline rose from 3.5% to 63.2% in the four-year period after the antibiotic’s introduction in 1957.
How did the dramatic increase in tetracycline resistance seen in the UK in the late fifties happen so fast? At least part of the answer lies in the mechanisms by which antibiotic resistance arises and then spreads in bacterial populations. Bacterial cells can acquire resistance through a mutation in the DNA of the genome. When the mutated cell is in the presence of an antibiotic to which it carries resistance it has a considerable competitive advantage over susceptible cells, which die out. In this way the resistance gene quickly becomes dominant in the population. But resistance is more often acquired through genes located on plasmids and other mobile DNA fragments passing from one cell to another (horizontal transmission). The two cells need not be of the same species and it is also possible for more than one resistance gene to be transmitted on the same fragment of DNA, since they are often co-located. This means that a bacterial cell can acquire co-resistance to several different antibiotics in a single horizontal transmission event. In this way, multiple-resistance can spread very rapidly through mixed microbial communities, which are able to thrive when the antibiotics concerned are present. In other words, the presence of the antibiotic in the environment selects for resistance genes in the bacterial population.
Concerns for the food industry
The WHO considers that the food supply chain plays an important part in the dissemination of antibiotic-resistant bacteria from animals into the human population. Animal products like raw and cured meats, eggs, unpasteurised dairy products and farmed fish are all potential vehicles for transmission, as is fresh produce contaminated by agricultural animal waste through irrigation or manuring. Furthermore, the global extent of modern food and feed supply chains provides a mechanism for the rapid spread of antibiotic-resistant strains around the world. For the food industry, the development of antibiotic resistance is a particular safety hazard when it occurs in bacterial pathogens that can be transmitted from animals to humans (zoonoses).
Some of the most common agents of foodborne disease are zoonoses, including Salmonella, Campylobacter and verocytotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC). Strains of all these pathogens showing resistance to multiple antibiotics have arisen over the last 30 years and have been involved in serious food poisoning outbreaks. One of the best known examples is Salmonella Typhimurium definitive phage type (DT) 104. S. Typhimurium DT104 isolates are typically resistant to five types of antibiotic: ampicillin, chloramphenicol, streptomycin, sulfonamides, and tetracycline. The pathogen was first isolated in the UK in the 1980s and was later discovered to be endemic in cattle, which acted as a reservoir for contamination of meat production. It then spread worldwide with alarming speed during the 1990s and is now common, especially in Europe and North America. S. Typhimurium DT104 has also shown a worrying ability to acquire resistance to other types of antibiotic, including the clinically important fluoroquinolones and cephalosporins.
Other foodborne pathogens of special concern are strains of Campylobacter resistant to the fluoroquinolone antimicrobial drug ciprofloxacin, which is an important therapeutic drug used to treat human infection and is sometimes used in the treatment of gastrointestinal disease. It has emerged that the use of enrofloxacin, another fluoroquinolone, in food animals has resulted in the development of resistance to ciprofloxacin in Campylobacter and in Salmonella. The notably virulent strain of E. coli O104:H4, which caused the major fatal outbreak of infection in Germany in 2011, was resistant to a number of antibiotics, including ampicillin, trimethoprim, cephalosporins and tetracycline. It was also found to possess a plasmid-borne gene for extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) production. E. coli strains with the ESBL gene are often resistant to a wide range of important therapeutic antibiotics and infections are notoriously difficult to treat. They are most common in urinary tract infections, but the presence of ESBL in foodborne pathogens is an emerging concern. The best known of all antibiotic resistant bacteria, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, has also been turning up occasionally in livestock and foods of animal origin. According to the WHO there is evidence that antibiotic resistance in Salmonella has been “associated with more frequent and longer hospitalisation, longer illness, a higher risk of invasive infection and a twofold increase in the risk of death in the two years after infection.” Infections by resistant Campylobacter strains are also linked to a greater risk of invasive illness.
The most recent surveillance report for antibiotic resistance in zoonotic bacteria was published earlier this year by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and by the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC). The data presented in the report comes from 26 EU member states and three other countries and was collected in 2010. It shows that antibiotic resistance was common in Salmonella, Campylobacter and E. coli isolates from animals and food samples. Of special concern is the high proportion of isolates, especially from poultry, resistant to ciprofloxacin. Resistance to ciprofloxacin, nalidixic acid and tetracyclines in Campylobacter isolates from meat and animals was found at levels from 21% to 84%.
Considering how long ago the problem of antibiotic resistance was first recognised, governments have been almost glacially slow in addressing it. The first warning was contained in a report produced by a UK government committee in 1969. The Swann Report recommended that antibiotics used in human medicine should not be used as growth promoters and advised that a committee should be set up to review and authorise antibiotic use. These recommendations were eventually followed, but not until almost thirty years later. At the time the report was largely ignored. The use of antibiotic growth promoters continued worldwide until 1986, when the practice was banned in Sweden. As research uncovered more about the dangers of unrestricted antibiotic use in food animals, other countries began to take action, notably Denmark. Measures were also introduced at EU level as concerns grew, and all antibiotic growth promoters were finally withdrawn in 2006. Nevertheless, there is evidence that in some Eastern European countries, antibiotics are still widely available without prescription and could be being used by farmers. Additionally, large quantities of antibiotics continue to be used to prevent and treat diseases in food animals.
The steps taken in the EU have not been replicated elsewhere in the world, even though the WHO also recommends that antibiotic growth promoters be banned or quickly phased out. The USA is one of the biggest meat-producing nations and has yet to ban growth promoters despite prolonged campaigns by consumer groups and others. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the body responsible for regulating antibiotic use, but although it has expressed a wish to see growth promoters phased out, action has been limited. For example, in 2000 the FDA proposed the banning of enrofloxacin use in poultry, but legal challenges delayed the measure until 2005. The US meat industry is a powerful lobby and is reluctant to accept the banning of antibiotic growth promoters for economic reasons. The issue is controversial and has led to the commissioning of a large body of research into the effectiveness or otherwise of banning growth promoters as a means of controlling the development of antibiotic resistance.
Nevertheless there is evidence from countries where bans have been in place for some time. A WHO expert panel has studied the effect of the withdrawal of antibiotic growth promoters from food animals in Denmark on human health, animal health, animal production and the national economy. The panel focused on pig and poultry production and found a significant decrease over 10 years in the prevalence of enterococci resistant to glycopeptide antibiotics previously used as growth promoters. They also found a 50% drop in the use of antibiotics in pig production, both as a result of withdrawing growth promoters and a policy to reduce the use of therapeutic antibiotics by improvements in animal husbandry. Over the same period, pig productivity improved significantly. So it seems that the use of growth promoters can be discontinued and the risk to human health reduced, without long term damage to the economics of food animal production. Similar effects have been reported in Sweden and in Norway, where the fish-farming sector has been very effective in reducing antibiotic use. But in the EU as a whole the prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacteria in food and animals has remained more or less unchanged since growth promoters were withdrawn in 2006. One reason for this may be the persistence of resistance genes in the bacterial population even when the antibiotic concerned is removed from the environment. It may take several more years before the effects become clear.
Reducing antibiotic use
A wide range of policy measures has been developed to tackle the problem of antibiotic resistance in bacteria in the food chain. The elimination of antibiotic growth promoters in food animals is just one of these. Other regulatory measures recommended by WHO include ensuring that antibiotics can only be given to animals when prescribed by a veterinarian, and ensuring that important clinical drugs like fluoroquinolones are only administered to treat animals when their use is fully justified. There are also important steps that can be taken to reduce the need for therapeutic antibiotics in animals, including improving animal health and preventing disease by better biosecurity and vaccination programmes, and by improving on-farm hygiene practices. WHO also points out that there may be economic incentives to prescribe antibiotics inappropriately, which should be eliminated. Finally, better surveillance is needed to determine the real usage of antibiotics in animals and to track the prevalence of resistance in foodborne bacteria. The EFSA surveillance report shows how much useful information can be revealed by this method, but the results suggest significant variation in the effectiveness of surveillance programmes in different countries. There is room for improvement.
It is clear that the development of resistance in bacterial pathogens is a major public health hazard, which threatens to make antibiotics virtually redundant as treatments for infection, with potentially catastrophic results. Whether antibiotic use in food animals is a major factor in this development is a more contentious issue. The evidence suggests not only that it has an important role, but also that antibiotic use in food animals can be cut dramatically without rendering the industry economically unviable. It seems an obvious and important way forward, but given that it is now 43 years since the Swann report was published, it seems unlikely that any solution will be a speedy one.
Tackling antibiotic resistance from a food safety perspective in Europe
World Health Organisation, Regional Office for Europe, 2011
The EU summary report on antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic and indicator bacteria from humans, animals and food in 2010
EFSA Scientific Report, March 2012
Who can tell that placing food production in the hands of global agri-businesses is a bad thing? EVERYONE. So, when the WTO says it helps solve the food crisis, we say------global food corporations are causing the food crisis for goodness sake!
Let's look at the mid-west. The aquifers in the mid-west have been pumped dry because of sending US food all over the world rather than having the policy of developing food growth in developing worlds. Ship food aid------grow corn for bio-fuel----turn arid land into farmland -----all policies that allowed agri-businesses to go global while destroying the US environment. That's not bad enough say neo-liberals. We need to use GMO products to eliminate variety in food sources and poison living creatures needed for the health of food products. So, the US has ravaged aquifers with the threat of an end to local fresh water supply, it has dying insects needed for pollination and plant health because plants with GMO have systemic poison that kills all insects, we have GMO crops around the world failing because of blight caused by resistance to GMO by fungal and viral diseases. The US agri-business and investment firms are buying fertile land all over the world to make the world's population dependent on the 1% for food and water.
DON'T WORRY THE 1% SAY----WE ARE DO-GOODERS ONLY LOOKING OUT FOR OUR FELLOW MAN------HOW COULD ANYTHING GO WRONG!
So, the same people creating food, water, and land crises are telling us they have the solution-----LET'S HAND ALL OF THE ABOVE TO THE 1% TO HANDLE THROUGH INTERNATIONAL TRADE TRIBUNALS!
NEO-LIBERALS AND NEO-CONS ARE ALL ABOUT WEALTH AND PROFIT AT THE EXPENSE OF LABOR AND JUSTICE. ALL OF MARYLAND'S POLS ARE NEO-LIBERALS HAVING WORKED TO CREATE THIS MESS.
HUMMMMMM.....these trade articles saying that international trade in food has brought down food prices. Let's see, prices for nuts in America have soared since exporting started.....Americans are being told to eat less meat as the prices become too expensive to afford because of exporting....going to Whole Foods for organics protected from anti-biotics/hormones/GMO all tied with global trade now costs your whole paycheck as the saying goes. THEY ARE LYING.
International trade helps solve food crisis: WTO
By Jonathan Lynn
GENEVA Sun May 10, 2009 3:33pm EDT REUTERS
Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), attends the European Business Summit in Brussels March 26, 2009.
Credit: Reuters/Eric Vidal
(Reuters) - International trade is part of the solution to the global food crisis and not one of its causes, the head of the World Trade Organization said on Sunday.
Global integration represented by trade enabled food to be transported from where it could be produced efficiently to where there was demand, said WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy.
Geography meant many countries -- Egypt, for example -- could never be self-sufficient in food, he said in a speech prepared for an International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council conference in Salzburg, Austria.
"International trade was not the source of last year's food crisis," Lamy said.
"If anything, international trade has reduced the price of food over the years through greater competition, and enhanced consumer purchasing power."
Sharp rises in food prices in 2007 and 2008 led to riots in many countries over food shortages.
Prices have since come off their peaks but many experts argued agricultural trade exacerbated the problem and was not in the interest of poor farmers or consumers in poor countries.
Lamy said Olivier De Schutter, the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to food, had condemned an excessive reliance on trade in the pursuit of food security, while some farmers' groups had also called for greater self-sufficiency.
Trade could not be behind the volatility in food prices, as agriculture accounts for less than 10 percent of world trade, while only 25 percent of world farm output is traded globally, compared with 50 percent of industrial goods, Lamy said.
"To suggest that less trade, and greater self-sufficiency, are the solutions to food security, would be to argue that trade was itself to blame for the crisis," he said.
Lamy said the sensitive nature of food meant agriculture received special treatment in international trade rules compared with industrial goods such as shirts or tires.
Developing countries were becoming more competitive in farm trade, with agricultural exports from developing to developed countries rising 11 percent a year between 2000 and 2007, faster than the 9 percent growth in trade in the other direction.
Although millions continue to suffer from hunger, the share of personal incomes spent on food in the poorest countries was declining, Lamy said.
For those wondering how US meat industry and processing plants returned to Sinclair's 'The Jungle', the document below describes the governmental dismantling of a first world food inspection and food safety system to a level of developing world acceptance. Now, this document gives the impression that the developed world will help other nations come to better standards, but as we know in the US......we have fallen to developing world standards. TPP places this liberalism on steroids taking away most sovereign regulations across the board and leaving a broad definition of what constitutes scientific proof public harm is being done. Consider that Penn State provides research that says fracking chemicals do not harm to public health and that a study of the effects of coffee and caffeine paid for by Starbucks shows that you can drink several cups of coffee every day without harm-----it is good for you they say! When universities are made into corporations the research is no longer in the public interest.....the research will be used to make it impossible for the public to prove HARM.
For most health advocates the most criminal of food policies lie with US meat contamination with antibiotics and hormones......known to be harming human health and being exported to nations around the world not wanting the stuff. Obama is making the acceptance of antibiotic and hormone meat, just as he is demanding GMO food be allowed as part of these International Trade Agreements. This is why you are seeing wide-spread national laws being passed to stop chemically tainted meat and GMO as hazardous to the health of humans.
NATIONS AROUND THE WORLD ARE LEGISLATING TO PROTECT THEIR CITIZENS FROM UNITED STATES FOOD POLICY!
Neo-liberals and neo-cons are pushing policy that will kill people en masse because they could care less about people as they work to maximize profit!
FOR FOOD, AGRICULTURE,AND THE ENVIRONMENTFOCUS10 • BRIEF5OF17 • SEPTEMBER2003FOODSAFETY INFOODSECURITYANDFOODTRADE
Food Safety Issues in International TradeSPENCERHENSONWhile not trade measures per se, food safety regulationsand standards can impede trade and significantly affectthe ability of developing countries to access markets, particularlyin industrialized countries (see Brief 6 for examples). In part, thisreflects the growing use of these measures globally in responseto the rapid increase in scientific and technical understanding offood-borne hazards to human health (see Brief 4).In extreme cases, countries are denied access to exportmarkets: their exports may be banned from other countriesbecause they fail to meet food safety standards, or the costs ofcompliance may be prohibitively high. Outright bans are mostlyapplied as temporary measures when acute food safety issuesare identified (see the account of Nile perch exports fromKenya to the European Union in Brief 8). Even when exporterscan comply with food safety requirements, their competitivenessrelative to other exporters may be diminished because of theirrelatively high compliance costs (see Briefs 7 and 9). Bothmacro- and microeconomic effects of food safety regulations canbe extremely damaging for export-oriented countries.In developing countries compliance may require action byboth government and individual exporters. Introducing certifica-tion procedures would be a government action, for example,while improving hygiene in processing facilities would be a pri-vate action.Typically, the less developed a country, the higher thecosts of compliance, since its food safety capacity and regula-tions tend to be less strict.Most of the effects of food safety requirements on tradestem from government regulation. It is increasingly recognizedthat voluntary food safety standards can also impede trade (seeBrief 12). Exporters may comply voluntarily with establishedstandards because customers require it or to meet food safetyregulations. If such standards are so widely applied that in effectthey become mandatory within a product market, exportersmay have little or no choice but to comply.The case studies in this set of briefs show how food safetyrequirements have affected exports of fish, groundnuts, meat,grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables. In some cases, exportershave been unable to gain market access because of stiff require-ments; in others, existing export flows are threatened or cur-tailed by new regulations.Food safety requirements in export markets can have a pro-found impact on the way that supply chains for agricultural andfood products in developing countries operate. For example, evi-dence suggests that exporters of fresh vegetables in Kenya haveresponded to stricter pesticide controls in the European Unionby procuring from a few large commercial farmers who are easi-er to oversee than numerous small-scale producers. Similarly,the European Union’s stricter hygiene requirements for fish andfishery products have induced the Indian shrimp sector toemploy a permanent workforce instead of casual labor.THE SPS AGREEMENTTo establish and enforce rules regarding the application of foodsafety, the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement of theWorld Trade Organization (WTO) permits countries to takelegitimate measures to protect the life and health of consumers(as well as animals and plants), provided such measures can bejustified scientifically and do not unnecessarily impede trade.The Agreement requires that risks be kept to an acceptablelevel, however. WTO members are asked to accept the foodsafety measures of other members if they impose an equivalentlevel of protection. Before any new measure is implemented, aformal notification must be submitted through the WTO and aminimum period provided for comments from other members.The SPS Agreement makes specific reference to internation-al standards as the benchmark against which national measuresare judged. In the case of food safety, the key international stan-dard-setting body is the Codex Alimentarius Commission. Theinternational harmonization of food safety measures potentiallybenefits developing countries, although many do not have thecapacity to participate effectively in the Codex Alimentarius.Consequently international standards may fail to take adequateaccount of their needs and special circumstances (see Brief 11).Given that developing countries typically implement lessstrict food safety regulations and standards than industrializedcountries, in principle the SPS Agreement should help to facili-tate trade by improving transparency, promoting harmonization,and preventing the implementation of measures that cannot bejustified scientifically. Much depends, however, on the ability ofdeveloping countries to effectively participate in the reformedtrade arena.The Agreement itself tries to facilitate this byacknowledging the problems that developing countries face incomplying with SPS measures and allowing for special and differ-ential treatment. For example, members are instructed to takeaccount of the special needs of developing countries, particularlythe least developed, when adopting food safety and other SPSmeasures. Such needs might include extended time for meetingnew standards or the provision of technical assistance.Implementation issues—many involving the SPSAgreement—for developing countries were negotiated prior tothe 2001 Doha meeting of the WTO. Participants agreed that(1) better guidelines are needed to help establish equivalent reg-ulations in different countries; (2) to encourage participation instandard setting, developing countries will receive assistancefrom five major international organizations; and (3) developingcountries should receive financial and technical assistance, forexample to facilitate participation in international standard-set-ting organization
CONSTRAINTS TO COMPLIANCEConsiderable investment is required to enhance food safetycapacity in developing countries, in order to comply with regula-tory requirements in export markets and in the SPS Agreement.Given that industrialized countries largely set the standards thatapply in world trade, the burden of retooling often falls heavieston developing countries. Moreover, at the current time manydeveloping countries lack the necessary capacity to use the pro-visions of the SPS Agreement to defend their exports againstquestionable food safety measures or to justify the food safetyrequirements they apply to imports.Capacity to implement effective food safety controls is ofvital importance to agricultural and food exports from develop-ing countries. For example, importing countries frequentlyrequire guarantees that minimum standards of hygiene havebeen applied in the manufacture of a food product or that freshfruits and vegetables do not have excessive residues of pesti-cides. The exporting country must be able to comply with theserequirements and to demonstrate that compliance has beenachieved. While basic scientific and technical infrastructure isclearly vital, administrative structures, management, financing, andhuman capital are also important elements. Indeed, the experi-ences of many countries suggest that the lack of efficient man-agement or sustainable levels of resources can seriously com-promise the effectiveness of food safety controls.The role of the private sector is often neglected in discus-sions of national food safety capacity. Often, however, it isthrough the specific actions of individual producers and proces-sors that compliance with food safety requirements is achieved.An example is the application of Hazard Analysis CriticalControl Point (HACCP) approaches and other hygienic prac-tices by private enterprises in the production, processing, andhandling of agricultural and food products. Further, capacitybuilding in the private sector can complement, and indeed maybe a substitute for, the development of public sector capacity.An example is investment in laboratory testing facilities. In anumber of developing countries, the private sector has estab-lished its own laboratories, either within individual enterprisesor through an industry organization, because public capacity isinsufficient to meet SPS requirements in export markets.In many developing countries a multitude of governmentministries, departments, and agencies are involved in food safetymatters. Furthermore, the responsibilities of these various partsof government are often not clearly defined or they overlap inresponsibilities. Poor communication and coordination areother problems. As a consequence, administrative response tochanging food safety requirements in export markets can beslow and bureaucratic. Therefore, while changes in food safetyrequirements may be communicated well ahead of time, thereare numerous examples of developing countries struggling tocomply at the last minute.In certain circumstances the structure and modus operandiof production systems and supply channels for agricultural andfood products in developing countries may be incompatible withfood safety requirements in industrialized country markets orthey may impose greater costs of compliance. For example, sup-ply chains with large numbers of small-scale producers or inter-mediaries can be difficult to coordinate and control. Further-more, traditional methods of production may conflict with highlydeveloped food safety requirements and, in the most extremecases, are prohibitively expensive. In turn, compliance with SPSrequirements in export markets can induce changes in produc-tion systems and supply channels.CONCLUSIONSFood safety regulations and standards are increasingly influencingthe ability of developing countries to access markets for agricul-tural and food products, particularly in industrialized countries.The rudimentary and outdated food safety controls of manydeveloping countries may provide adequate protection to thedomestic population, but they are ill-equipped to meet exportmarket requirements. Further, developing nations are unable toparticipate effectively in the international institutions that haveevolved to establish global food standards and provide rules forthe implementation of national measures. However, countriesor private suppliers that invest in the required capacity to meetchanging food safety standards may enjoy a strategic advantage.A number of intergovernmental agencies (such as the Foodand Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the WorldHealth Organization, and the World Bank) and national donorshave provided technical assistance to enhance food safety capaci-ty in developing countries. The WTO’s SPS Committee attemptsto monitor these efforts and to provide a mechanism throughwhich developing countries can channel their requests for assis-tance. It has also tried to address developing countries’ con-cerns about the provisions of the SPS Agreement and how theyare being applied by WTO member countries. The internationalstandard-setting organizations have also explored ways toincrease participation of developing countries in their activities.In many countries, however, capacity for food safety remains farbelow international standards, and food safety requirementscontinue to act as a significant barrier to markets of industrial-ized countries.■For further reading see S. J. Henson and J.Wilson,Understanding the Nature of Sanitary and PhytosanitaryCapacity, (Washington, D.C.:World Bank, 2002); S. J. Henson,R. J. Loader,A. Swinbank, M. Bedahl, and N. Lux,Impact ofSanitary and Phytosanitary Measures on Developing Countries,(Reading, UK: Centre for Food Economics Research,University of Reading, 2000); IICA (Inter-American Institutefor Co-operation in Agriculture),Food Safety in InternationalAgricultural Trade (Costa Rica, 1999).Spencer Henson (email@example.com) is an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Business, University of Guelph, Canada