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International Seminar: Food, Risks and Sustainability: An Asian Perspective
Date: 6 – 7 July 2015
Venue: Y302, Lee Shau Kee Building, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom
ALL ARE WELCOME
This seminar aims to analyze the risks generated by the food system, the way these risks are perceived by consumers and how they are currently tackled by different types of actors (including government bodies, private actors and consumers). As such, it encompasses not just the issue of food safety, but also the notions of risks and sustainability. Through theoretical and case studies, this seminar gathers specialists from Europe, China, Japan, Malaysia and the United States and shows that food safety is not just a technical issue, but it also incorporates social, economic and legal aspects. Four specific perspectives will be explored:
- International Perspectives. Food risks are difficult to evaluate because to tackle them requires international coordination and political negotiations. Some international standards are issued by the Codex Alimentarius, but they are as much the results of a political bargaining as the products of scientific findings. There is also a mismatch between these standards and the way they are implemented at the domestic level because of cultural differences. At the same time, the private sector has also developed its own standards, which are not always compatible with the Codex and are introducing biases in the international food trade.
- The Organization of Food Markets. Risks cannot always be evaluated with indicators, for instance, when they are generated by the organization of the food markets, as shown by the milk powder crisis (2008). This seminar will bring to light theoretical perspectives as well as case studies showing how the organization of markets, as well as the decision making of their main participants, is potentially increasing risks.
- Sustainability and Agriculture. Risks are also linked to sustainability. The lengthened international value chains, the ever more intensive production, the pollutions, etc. are creating new risks. This seminar will introduce case studies and theoretical perspectives regarding risks introduced by agriculture as well as analyses pertaining to sustainability.
- Judgments and Perception. People do not only respond to real risks, but also to perceive ones. This perception comes from their experience, their culture, and from the diversity of the information they receive. This seminar focuses especially on judgments of perceived risks, with case studies on food selection in Japan after Fukushima and on eating out, cultural practices and obesity in France and Malaysia.