Purpose – The aim of this paper is to assess the welfare effects of the newest trends in food safety policies characterised by the shift from public to private intervention. Design/methodology/approach – Food safety policies are analysed through concepts of new economic sociology, with a critical review of the literature on social capital. Findings – The article shows that as food safety and quality attributes responsible for the exchange complexity are simply codified and enforced through standards and third‐party certification, the global value chain governance shifts from a relational type to a power‐based type, with possible negative welfare effects. Research limitations/implications – Further research would be required to verify the welfare effects suggested on the theoretical ground. Practical implications – The article makes a useful updating of food safety policies and organisational innovation in the food system. Originality/value – The paper introduces some new (with respect to the marketing literature related to the food system) concepts and theories of economic sociology.
British Food Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 18, 2008
Keywords: Food safety; Social capital; Standards; Trust; Product management