The right to safe food: can the international food system deliver to the United Kingdom?

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This article considers for the first time the right to safe food as it relates to the United Kingdom. It does so by mapping the governance of the international food system – trade, health and human rights – and considering the fundamental vulnerabilities of that system. That done, the focus shifts to considering how such vulnerabilities will affect safe food in the United Kingdom. It does so by recognising the structural weakness inherent in ensuring safe food in the United Kingdom: British dependency for imports on an international food system which is finding it increasingly difficult to ensure stable supply chains. The net result of an increase in the volatility of supply chains is their vulnerability where safe food is concerned – with regard to food fraud, to contamination, to adulteration, etc. While recognising that the United Kingdom is, by necessity, reliant on the international food system, reference to recent consideration of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food might assist in centring not only issues of food safety as a consumer’s right, but assist in ensuring the right to safe food in the tumultuous times ahead.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-369
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Human Rights
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • human rights international law
  • Right to food

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