Governing Food Security and Safety in Asia – University of Copenhagen

Governing Food Security and Safety in Asia

Panel in the 7th Annual International ADI Conference on Food, Feeding and Eating In and Out of Asia

Convenors: Chunrong Liu and Kai He, University of Copenhagen

Food security is widely considered a fundamental aspect of human rights and a basis
of social cohesion. In any country, inadequate access to sufficient food supply due to
shortage of financial means and other resources can be consequential. Equally
important is a state's capacity to regulate food safety, namely, to ensure that the public
food supply is safe from disease or deliberative contamination.

Asia’s rapid economic growth is changing the structure of food consumption, a
development that has profoundly transformed Asia’s agricultural and food sector. In
the last two decades, a new middle class as the main consumer group has emerged
demanding a larger variety of food products from a more diversified market of
suppliers. While food quantity remains essential, there have been growing concerns
about food quality and safety. Facing these new realities, some Asian governments,
such as China, have set up the political goal of emphasizing the importance both to
meet the nutritional needs of a growing population and to regulate food safety for the
public interest. This is widely perceived as a strategy to guarantee decent livelihood
for the people and hence reaffirm/strengthen regime legitimacy. Against this
background, it is interesting to examine whether and how Asia’s government agencies,
food industries, organizations and other stakeholders can make concerted efforts and
manage the challenges to food security and safety in a durable and effective manner.

This panel addresses two interplaying aspects of food politics: security and safety.
What forms of food security and safety regulation exist in Asia, what are their
underlying governing principles and which actors are involved in the formulation and
operation of the food regime? More importantly, what are the factors contributing to
the effectiveness of food security and safety regulation? By exploring these critical
issues from comparative perspectives, our panel hopes to bring a better understanding
of the nature, dynamics and implications of food governance in Asia.


  • Chunrong Liu, Associate Professor and Executive Vice Director of Fudan-European Centre for China Studies
  • Kai He, Associate Professor, Dept. of Political Science, University of Copenhagen