A key trend in the governance of global agri-food value chains in the last 10 to 15 years is the increasing prevalence of private standards (Jaffee and Henson, 2004; OECD, 2004). Private firms and non- governmental organisations (NGOs) have progressively laid down standards for food safety, food quality and environmental and social aspects of agri-food production, which are generally linked in turn to processes of second or third party certification (Busch et al., 2005). While not subject to the same legal processes of enforcement as public regulations, it is argued that market forces can make compliance with private standards mandatory in practice (Henson, 2007). Thus, in the sphere of food safety on which we focus here, many global agri-food value chains are governed by an array of public and private standards, which are variously interconnected and play a leadership role in driving the implementation of food safety controls (Henson and Humphrey, 2008). There are also claims that private standards, which have found their predominant domain in export value chains, are beginning to pervade higher-value markets in developing countries.
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