Developments in knowledge concerning the toxicology and occurrence of dietary arsenic suggest that levels of exposure in some groups of the population within the EU are a cause for concern. This applies also in the case of individual Member States where local regulatory limits exist. The situation is such that some foods on the market are already the subject of consumer advice provided by government agencies. In the light of these considerations, some have suggested that Member States’ legislation concerning arsenic in foods should be modified and harmonised to reflect such developments. An evaluation of alternative policy initiatives is considered in this work. It employed a computer-based, fuzzy multi-criteria impact assessment tool for the identification of the preferable policy option. Such a tool, named ‘Scryer’, includes a rigorously structured qualitative assessment of each type of impact (e.g. public health, costs for businesses, costs for public authorities) for each policy option, a feasibility filter which considers the opportunity to undertake a quantitative estimation for any type of impact, and the comparison of policy options through a fuzzy multi-criteria approach. The transparency of the tool allows also for a weighting of the impacts. Three policy options concerning regulation of arsenic were evaluated: (1) the status quo option, reflecting the current situation, where levels of arsenic in drinking and mineral waters are governed by EU-wide legislation and that of foods is determined at a Member State level; (2) statutory controls, resulting in the introduction of maximum residue limits for arsenic in foods; and (3) voluntary standards, where the adoption of a policy of self-regulation is expected to reduce levels of inorganic arsenic in the food supply. Application of the Scryer tool suggests that the preferable policy option would be to replace the status quo with legally enforceable (lower) limits at the EU-wide level, and that voluntary limits would be the least risky choice.

Multi-criteria analysis for the impact assessment of food safety policies: The case of EU regulation on dietary arsenic

RAGONA, MADDALENA;MAZZOCCHI, MARIO;
2012

Abstract

Developments in knowledge concerning the toxicology and occurrence of dietary arsenic suggest that levels of exposure in some groups of the population within the EU are a cause for concern. This applies also in the case of individual Member States where local regulatory limits exist. The situation is such that some foods on the market are already the subject of consumer advice provided by government agencies. In the light of these considerations, some have suggested that Member States’ legislation concerning arsenic in foods should be modified and harmonised to reflect such developments. An evaluation of alternative policy initiatives is considered in this work. It employed a computer-based, fuzzy multi-criteria impact assessment tool for the identification of the preferable policy option. Such a tool, named ‘Scryer’, includes a rigorously structured qualitative assessment of each type of impact (e.g. public health, costs for businesses, costs for public authorities) for each policy option, a feasibility filter which considers the opportunity to undertake a quantitative estimation for any type of impact, and the comparison of policy options through a fuzzy multi-criteria approach. The transparency of the tool allows also for a weighting of the impacts. Three policy options concerning regulation of arsenic were evaluated: (1) the status quo option, reflecting the current situation, where levels of arsenic in drinking and mineral waters are governed by EU-wide legislation and that of foods is determined at a Member State level; (2) statutory controls, resulting in the introduction of maximum residue limits for arsenic in foods; and (3) voluntary standards, where the adoption of a policy of self-regulation is expected to reduce levels of inorganic arsenic in the food supply. Application of the Scryer tool suggests that the preferable policy option would be to replace the status quo with legally enforceable (lower) limits at the EU-wide level, and that voluntary limits would be the least risky choice.
Congress Papers
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19
Ragona M.; Mazzocchi M.; Alldrick A.J.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/131921
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