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Gabriele Suder (SKEMA Business School)
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14 pages
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Pork nutrition and medication abuses are found in the German agricultural sector, veterinarians incarcerated, the Bavarian heath minister resigning - Is this only the top of the iceberg of yet another food scandal that the European Union (EU) struggles to control? How efficient are the reactions of the regulatory framework in this matter? Has the EU health and animal welfare policy evolved since BSE, dioxin and other cases in food (un-)safety? In 2001, Germany does not fulfil essential requirements of EU directives and legal provisions in feedingstuff, which is mainly due to serious omissions in legislation and procedures at federal level and major implementation deficiencies at Lander (individual state) level. In this case study, a consultant to the European Commission''s Directorate General Agriculture is placed into a context that sheds light on organisational behaviour in a situation of ambiguity in agriculture. It illuminates the structural underpinning of an inherent tendency of governmental regulation to deviancies in organisational behaviour of corporations which influence and minimise effective control, ie unintended consequences and ambiguity. Rules, procedures and planning achieve efficiency through adaptability to external market forces. The vulnerability of farming controls is compared to the continuous flows or large batch or mass production. Adaptability is built in to agricultural organisations to produce more flexibility than in factories. Given this, in the intrusion of inspectors and the external application of rules to farming, farmers can more readily offer a variety of possible valid explanations for variations in production, and exploit opportunity structures mingling the legal and the illegal in the organisation. An important part of the case study examines the evolution of control and product tracing since the main European food scandals of that time.


Agriculture; Europe; Food scandals; Integration; Public policy; Control; Organisational behaviour; Cost of production; Ambiguity; Product tracing; Distribution; Food policy; Regulations; Illegal
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