Year

2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Faculty of Law

Abstract

Bangladesh has long faced a serious food safety problem. Food manufacturers are producing many unhealthy and adulterated food products, ignoring the regulations deliberately. There are numerous laws as well as several regulatory bodies which deal with this alarming issue but with minimal effectiveness. The current study intends to investigate the relevant food safety regulations in regard to the manufacture of unsafe foods in Bangladesh.

This study observes that the existing regulatory philosophy of the enforcement of the regulations is ineffective in practice. This is because the regulations only offer direct criminal penalty for any kind of contravention. There are no other enforcement tools — such as the use of persuasion or an improvement notice or civil penalties — for authorities to impose upon the food manufacturers prior to directly applying the criminal penalties. From that perspective, this study has chosen the responsive regulation theory to evaluate the food safety regulatory regime of Bangladesh and apply to it. In order to do that, the present research has chosen the equivalent food safety regulatory framework of NSW, where the responsive regulation theory has been successfully applied. The qualitative method of research has been used in this research to analyse the major relevant literature of Bangladesh and NSW with a view to suggesting the possible solutions for Bangladesh in light of the equivalent mechanisms applied in NSW, where appropriate and necessary.

Besides applying the responsive regulation theory to the food safety regulatory regime of Bangladesh, this thesis has offered several recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the current food safety regulations of Bangladesh. The key issues of the thesis are divided between six main chapters. Firstly, it has presented the way in which to adopt the responsive regulation theory in the food safety regulatory regime in Bangladesh, which is a least developed country. The current study has recommended some moderation of and adaptations to the original theory of responsive regulation when introducing the grading system in the manufacturing food industry in Bangladesh. Secondly, this thesis has depicted the existing legal framework of the food safety regulations of Bangladesh. It is observed that the food safety legal framework in Bangladesh has been crowded with numerous unnecessary, confusing and overlapping regulations which this study has suggested should be minimised by the introduction of a single law encompassing all the food safety issues. Thirdly, the investigation into the food safety regulatory framework in Bangladesh revealed that the regulatory bodies that deal with the regulations are also quite large in number which makes the entire regulatory regime burdensome and ineffective. The present study has recommended a single regulatory body for coordinating all food safety activities, so ensuring the greater transparency and increased accountability. Fourthly, this study reveals that affected or injured consumers do not obtain damages entirely commensurate with their injuries under the current civil liability regime. In order to address this concern, this thesis has suggested that the current statutory laws be updated by introducing adequate and effective provisions as well as codifying the product liability of food manufacturers under the law of torts. Fifthly, the imposition of criminal liability on food manufacturers is also not effective as the current regime provides unstructured mens rea, narrow actus reus, and unrestricted defences of the offences. This study suggests introducing a Three-Tier model of offences, where offences with subjective mens rea, offences with objective mens rea and absolute liability offences will be available to try contraventions of food safety regulations. This dissertation also argues for the broadening of the actus reus of the offences and narrowing the defences for food manufacturers. Finally, this research offers a way in which to adopt the responsive regulation theory to the enforcement regime of the food safety regulations in Bangladesh and also analyses a number of other enforcement problems.

It is believed that if all these recommendations of this thesis are adopted, the food safety situation in Bangladesh can be improved by having regulations that are effective. In addition, the findings of the thesis could have implications and usefulness in the global context, particularly in the developing and least developed countries.

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