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