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National variations in the implementation and enforcement of European food hygiene regulations

Comparing the structure of food controls and regulations between Scotland and the Netherlands

Tijdschrift Recht der Werkelijkheid, Aflevering 3 2014
Trefwoorden food regulation, official controls, EU food law, implementation, enforcement
Auteurs Tetty Havinga
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Over the course of time the European Union has increased its powers considerably. Currently, almost all food safety regulations in the member states rest on European law. Despite this common legal base, several differences between member states still exist. This article compares the way Scottish and Dutch authorities deal with a particular item of European food law: the development of national guides to good practice for hygiene and for the application of HACCP principles by the food industry. The results of this investigation are consistent with the conclusion of Falkner et al. that the implementation of EU law in both the Netherlands and the UK depends on domestic issues. The dominant issue in Scotland (and the UK) is the FSA objective to bring consistent food controls and independency from industry which results in the development of governmental guidance. The prevailing issue in the Netherlands is making industry responsible for food safety which helps explain the extensive use of industry guides. This study shows that in order to understand what happens on the ground it is important to look beyond transposition or direct effect and also to investigate the implementation of regulations and to dig deeper than just their transposition.


Tetty Havinga
Tetty Havinga is Associate Professor at the Institute for the Sociology of Law, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands. She has published on the regulation of food safety, policy implementation and law enforcement, equal opportunities law, asylum migration and migrant workers. Her recent research projects deal with the development and effects of private regulation of food safety, oversight and official controls in the food industry, and the experiences of large companies with Dutch special courts. She is co-editor of The Changing Landscape of Food Governance (to be published by Edward Elgar, 2015).
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