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Much Ado About Nothing: Does the Death of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Affect Global Food Safety?

May 2017

Citation: ELR 10439

Author: Carrie A. Scrufari

With continued globalization of the food system and the increasing number of agricultural products traded on the world market, concerns regarding food safety standards in other countries led Congress to pass the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to better guard against outbreaks of foodborne illnesses. As FDA finalized the FSMA rules just last year, food safety experts began to fear that those new regulations could be undone if Congress ratified the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This may seem a moot issue now that Pres. Donald J . Trump has withdrawn the United States from the TPP, but the question is still relevant. This Article argues that the controversy has largely been much ado about nothing because the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade—the trade agreement in effect among all 12 former TPP signatories, which will continue operating in the TPP’s absence—provides adequate protection of the United States’ ability to regulate its food supply through the implementation of domestic laws, such as the new FSMA rules.

Carrie A. Scrufari is a Professor at Vermont Law School.

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