chapter  3
Contemporary food crises
When industrial failure meets state impotence
ByVincent Simoulin
Pages 16

Food crises have always existed and have always been a major concern for consumers and public authorities. Some are the results of fraud like the milk crisis (China, 2008), some are due to contamination hazards like the cucumber crisis (Germany, 2011) and some arise from attempts to increase cost efficiency like mad cow disease (Great Britain, 1985). We are then able to distinguish different types of food crisis while claiming that all food crises correspond to a failure of governmental action which is resolved retrospectively by the adoption of new protocols or regulations. From this point of view, in a context of globalization and of an increasing influence of New Public Management, new challenges lie ahead to achieve greater food safety. These challenges are such that the progress made in the prevention of accidental contamination in the realm of the food industry will soon appear to us as merely a simple step in view of the dangers born out of a landscape that is more diverse, small-scale/independent and fluid.