‘Designing Law for Nutrition-Related Health’ workshop

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‘Designing Law for Nutrition-Related Health’ workshop

June 8, 2015 - June 9, 2015


Details: http://www.ias.surrey.ac.uk/workshops/nutrition/index.php
Deadline for submitting abstracts: 11 May 2015
Fee: £80 (£30 for PhD students). The registration fee includes workshop materials and refreshments and lunch on both days.

This multi-disciplinary workshop seeks to initiate the development of a model which can improve regulatory design for nutrition and health needs in food law. It will bring together academics, practitioners and policy-makers from a range of disciplines and locations to explore whether and how public health nutrition research can inform better the design and implementation of European Union (EU) food law. Contributing disciplines will be social sciences, public health nutrition, business studies and law. Much has been written on different styles of regulation but there is very little work which seeks to develop a theoretical approach to integrating scientific research into the design and implementation of regulation in the context of nutrition and health.

The operation of much regulatory law is frequently described as a barrier to innovation and development. This is arguably because it often fails to incorporate domain specific knowledge, e.g. in the area of food and health, into the design stage of regulation. This workshop will seek to initiate the development of a regulatory design model in respect of food law so as to promote public health, taking account of the interdisciplinary approach necessary to design good regulation.

Three themed sessions each with a keynote speaker and 2-3 shorter related presentations (sourced from contributors responding to an open call) followed by chaired round table discussions focussing on key workshop themes, including a final session which will integrate the theme discussions.


Styles of regulation for nutrition and health

Designing effective regulation is of primary concern in achieving the public health objective. Whether the law is risk-based, prohibitory, procedural or reflexive are all questions which need to be considered in relation to the particular form of law which is adopted and its ability to achieve the public health objective which is its purpose. Much legislation in the food arena is reactive and, in relation to the EU, is increasingly emerging in the form of Regulations which are directly applicable and leave no discretion to Member States. Concern to ensure harmonisation at the highest level in the face of increasing threats relating to the safety of food is leading to this result. But is that reactive approach the most effective way to design legislation which is aimed at promoting public health? This session will reflect on whether the current legislation adequately supports public health nutrition. Round table discussions will focus on the following questions:
· Does food law support the drive for public health?
· What models of enforcement are appropriate in the food supply chain to drive nutrition and health?
· How much flexibility is generally desirable in the framework legislation?

Domain-specific science underpinning nutrition-related legislation

Within the fields of food and nutrition, research abounds across scientific, technical and behavioural areas but this leaves the question as to how effectively such research is being incorporated into legislation in terms of its design and style. Further, lack of scientific consensus is not operating as a barrier to legislation and the precautionary principle is frequently invoked as a legitimate and ethical basis for new EU Regulations.
This session will reflect on the link between public health nutrition research and the associated legislation. Round table discussions will focus on questions such as:
· To what extent is public health nutrition research being taken into account in the drafting of law?
· Where scientific knowledge is developing how can food and health legislation keep up with such change so as to drive the latest learning on nutritional and health needs?
· How much flexibility should be left to decision-makers at national, regional or local level, e.g. due to different cultures, populations, needs, levels of protection etc.?
· Which risk assessors play/should play the key role, e.g. industry’s scientists, national competent authorities or EFSA?
· How should the precautionary principle be incorporated and implemented?

Behavioural aspects for nutrition and health

The process whereby people make decisions about their choices of food represents a complex decision-making process and behavioural sciences are increasingly important in determining the framework for this cognitive process. Examples of the abundance of scientific research include, for example, the impact of behavioural patterns around nutrition on health, quality of life and longevity. Behavioural research is extensive and shows that individuals may not function in predictable and rational ways. With legislation increasingly used as the main driver for influencing human behaviour in respect of the food choices they make it becomes imperative to examine the efficacy of different approaches to regulation to achieve good public health outcomes. This session will reflect on what the behavioural sciences offer legislators developing food law that promotes nutrition and health. Round table discussions will focus on:
· What role should self-regulation, voluntary codes and other alternatives to ‘command control’ approaches play?
· How can the law give flesh to this developing work on behaviour patterning?
· How can the law promote behavioural choices for health without becoming the nanny state and limiting individual freedoms?

Contributions are welcomed from a wide range of disciplines, and from both academics and practitioners. Individual contributions will be around 10 – 15 minutes, and potential contributors should send a 250 word abstract by using the submission form below by 11 May 2015. Attendance will be confirmed by 18 May 2015.

The number of participants in the workshop will be strictly limited to facilitate creative discussion, and there is an attendance fee payable by speakers and attendees of £80 (£30 for PhD students). The registration fee includes workshop materials and refreshments and lunch on both days.


June 8, 2015
June 9, 2015
Event Category:

If you are a member of FRC and you wish to share information about food-related events in which you are involved, please write to the content editor of the website at contact@foodresearch.org.uk