Title page for ETD etd-05012006-091048

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Powell Thomas, Courtney Irene
Author's Email Address copowell@vt.edu
URN etd-05012006-091048
Title The Impacts and Implications of Post-1995 Linkages Between the Codex Alimentarius Commission and the World Trade Organization: Politicization, Deadlock, and Dispute
Degree Master of Arts
Department Political Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Weisband, Edward Committee Chair
Hult, Karen M. Committee Member
Rich, Richard C. Committee Member
  • World Trade Organization
  • Codex Alimentarius Commission
  • Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement
  • Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phyto
Date of Defense 2006-04-17
Availability unrestricted
This thesis examines the impacts and implications of post-1995 linkages between the Codex Alimentarius Commission and the World Trade Organization. Chapters 1 and 2 provide data on the structures, functions, and procedures of the Codex Commission and the WTO and analyze their institutional approaches to risk, danger, risk management and the precautionary principle. Chapter 3 evaluates three impacts of post-1995 linkages between these institutions (the politicization of the Codex Commission, deadlock in the Codex standard elaboration process, and dispute in the WTO) as well as three implications of that linkage (risk v. danger assessment and management, changed interpretations of “science,” and changed interpretations of “consensus”). Finally, Chapter 4 applies these impacts and implications to food safety cases. This chapter establishes a framework for understanding issues of food safety, Codex standard elaboration, and WTO dispute settlements in terms of scientific and political consensus and debate. This thesis argues, first, that the post-1995 linkage between the Codex Commission and the WTO changed Codex member state expectations and behaviors relative to standard elaboration procedures and that these changed expectations impacted both member state governments and the WTO. It further demonstrates that the extent of the Codex Commission’s ability to elaborate universal standards and the WTO’s responsibility for dispute settlement can be explained in terms of scientific and political dispute and consensus. Finally, it illustrates that risk and danger are different concepts, require different food safety approaches, and generate different institutional and national reactions. This analysis addresses existing critiques of the Codex Commission, the WTO, and their post-1995 linkages, examines the potential of both institutions to simultaneously pursue consumer safety and open trade objectives, and points to avenues for future research.
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