The paper discusses the unsatisfactory results of the European policy for food quality. Economic justifications for public intervention in this field are briefly summarized. Financial aid, introduced by the 2003 Reform to reinforce the range of instruments to promote food quality, is also discussed. The possibility to add new Quality Schemes to the existing ones is criticized on the grounds of consequent in-formation overcrowding. Furthermore, it is argued that a “race to the bottom” mechanism could be triggered with introduction of the possibility to develop Qual-ity Schemes on a national basis. The paper also shows that the unsatisfactory func-tioning of existing Quality Schemes could be better addressed by simplifying the whole quality certification system, enhancing communication and improving coor-dination of the different strategies of the various stakeholders in the food chains.
Food Quality, Cap Reform, Incentives, Information, Reputation
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