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Today: Fri, November 27 2015  -  Last modified: April, 26 2007
23 February 2013
Horsemeat, moral panic and the failure of regulation
by Whig
 sub-topic» Regulation

It is clear that there has been widespread adulteration of food products despite the presence of these institutions. Indeed, as with the banking crisis, it may be that regulation has encouraged it in various ways. Interestingly, a former bureaucrat at the FSA has suggested that the EU may be partially responsible owing to its ban on 'de-sinewed meat'. What is evident is that regulators will not prevent such events happening. Instead, as the ban on de-sinewed meat suggests, regulation will cause unintended consequences. Additional requirements for 'traceability' and more enforcement will increase costs for supplier which will be passed on and further drive up food prices for already hard-pressed low-income consumers, or it will promote cost-cutting and thus adulteration. Regulation will tend to drive smaller firms out of the marketplace, allowing room for monopolists to dominate the market. One should note that food industry lobby groups are usually happy to call for more regulation as well.