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Australia's organic trilemma: Public versus private organic food standardisation


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Hall, SB (2011) Australia's organic trilemma: Public versus private organic food standardisation. Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The Australian organic food industry has reached a political
impasse. Despite being one of the fastest growing sectors of the
food economy, the organic industry in Australia remains largely
self-governed. There is no specific legislation for domestic organic
food standardisation and labelling at the state or federal level as
there is in the USA and the EU. The situation has engendered deep
division within the sector. While there is recognition among most
organic industry actors about a need for regulatory reform and
greater engagement with government, there is disagreement over
the appropriate nature and extent of government intervention.
Some sectoral actors seek government regulation to facilitate the
maturation and expansion of the organic industry and to protect
consumers and producers from labelling fraud. Others fear that
government regulation may undermine the values and traditions of
the Australian organic agriculture movement. Drawing upon the
social theories of Jurgen Habermas, Niklas Luhmann and Gunther
Teubner, the thesis argues the Australian situation represents an
example of a regulatory trilemma. Inappropriate government
regulation may: (1) be ignored and thus redundant; or (2) it may
destroy the inherent structure and normative dynamics of
Australia's organic food system; or (3) be counteracted by positive
systemic resistance from the organic sector. The thesis finds a
reflexive approach provides a sound basis for establishing the
limits of government regulation of the organic sector and represents
an effective response to the trilemma.

Item Type: Thesis (Research Master)
Keywords: governance, organic standards, food regulation, public policy
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Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2011 01:27
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:53
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