Panel on food safety and food security in Asia as part of the third Global Asias Conference, to be held at Penn State University on April 9-11, 2015.
- Papers on issues of health and national security in connection with networks of food production and distribution are encouraged in any discipline or national focus within Asia.
- Please send a 250-word abstract and brief c.v. to Jessamyn Abel at firstname.lastname@example.org by November 15, 2014. The panel description is pasted below, followed by a general description of the conference.
Asia in the Global Food Chain
The global expansion of food supply networks, while delivering a variety of foods around the world, has also heightened concerns about food safety and security. In the market-opening mood of the 1990s, worries about Japan’s food security fueled support for import barriers on staple foods, and the looming threat of an influx of foreign rice sent Japanese consumers into an anxious frenzy of stock-piling domestic grain. More recently, one tainted food scandal after another has inspired bans on imports of food from China, while spurring wealthy Chinese to import suitcases-full of goods like infant formula. For centuries, the absence, availability, and provision of food has been a key element in the vibrancy of overseas Asian communities and the ability of immigrants to feel “safe at home” in their adopted country. This panel will explore the intersection between issues of food safety and security and Asia’s place in global networks of immigration and trade.
Global Asias 3
Penn State’s Department of Asian Studies announces Global Asias 3, a conference to celebrate the launch of a new journal, Verge: Studies in Global Asias (published by the University of Minnesota Press).
Augustin-Jean, Louis & Alpermann, Bjorn (eds.) (2014), The political economy of agro-food markets in China: the social construction of the markets in an era of globalization. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
After thirty years of reforms and continuous economic growth, China’s agricultural production and food consumption have increased tremendously, leading to a complete evolution of agro-food markets. The authors use a path dependency approach to analyze the development of these markets, the structure of which remains relatively unknown. The authors use agro-food industries in China, to describe the organization of agricultural markets in China, and its implication for local people as well as for her integration into the world economy.
In coping with food quality problems, China relies heavily on state institutions, such as laws and regulations, governmental standards and certification, and inspections and enforcement. Recently, transparency (or information disclosure) has been introduced in China’s governance framework to cope with its growing food quality and related sustainability problems. This article investigates to what extent and how China’s transparency institutions and practices regarding food production and products play a role in governing food quality and safety. Four forms of food chain transparency are distinguished and assessed: management transparency, regulatory transparency, consumer transparency and public transparency. It is concluded that in China food chain transparency is still in its infancy with respect to governing domestic food production and product quality and safety, and that only with respect to global (export) food chains transparency and accountability put some pressure on agro-food chain actors to improve their performance with respect to food quality and sustainability. By the same token furthering transparency on food quality is desperately needed as the state’s food management and control system alone proves not capable to provide safe food that is credible and trusted by domestic consumers.
Jakob A. Klein (2013). Everyday approaches to food safety in Kunming. The China Quarterly, 214, pp 376-393. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0305741013000325 [Access restricted]
The article explores how people in Kunming have interpreted and acted upon food-related environmental health threats, particularly within the contexts of everyday food shopping. It is argued that an increasingly intensified, delocalized food supply system and a state-led emphasis on individual responsibility and choice have produced growing uncertainties about food. However, the article takes issue with the claim that new forms of risk and institutional changes have produced “individualized” responses, arguing that many of the practices Kunmingers have developed to handle food-related risks and their understandings of what constitutes “safe” food have been developed within the frameworks of family ties and regional cuisine. Further, shoppers and purveyors of food have forged new ties of trust and re-emphasized connections between people, food and place. Nevertheless, concerns about the food supply are a source of discontent which is feeding into wider ambivalences towards modernization. This is particularly acute among the economically disadvantaged.
- Special section: “Dying for development”, The China Quarterly, vol. 214, June 2013. Table of contents (some articles are in free access)
- Jacob A. Klein