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CRITICAL THINKING ABOUT THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE IN CHINA’S FOOD SAFETY LAW

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We are living in a risk society where people devised the Precautionary Principle in order to minimize the harm caused by risk ex ante. Compared to the previous Food Hygiene Law (FHL) and the 2009 Food Safety Law, the 2015 revised Chinese Food Safety Law (FSL) made a real breakthrough in the sense that it legitimates an important principle in food safety governance. Apart from laying down the fundamental importance of this principle in food safety regulations, the FSL 2015 also invented arrangements from different aspects in order to implement this principle. In other words, the FSL 2015’s incorporation of the Precautionary Principle in a very real sense marked a transition from a demonstrative preventive food safety management regime to a more effective precautionary regime. However, the Precautionary Principle needs to be adopted in a “precautionary” way since this principle has its own limitations and defects. Incautious application of the principle may create new risks. This article compares the European approach in implementing the Precautionary Principle, and examines China’s legal arrangements against negative impacts brought by the Precautionary Principle. Three perspectives are discussed: independence of scientific institutes; proportionality in risk management measures, and the shift of burden of proof for market authorization.

Affiliations: 1: School of Transnational Law, Peking University; LL.M., Yale Law School; J.S.D. Candidate, Yale Law School yi.lu.yl829@yale.edu

10.3868/s050-005-016-0040-9
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/content/journals/10.3868/s050-005-016-0040-9
2016-02-27
2018-07-15

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