Improving vegetable safety in China: Does co-regulation work?

Lita Alita*, Liesbeth Dries, Peter Oosterveer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In the last decade, vegetable safety issues have received growing attention from both consumers and public authorities in China, as vegetable safety hazards pose a serious threat to public health. In 2017, the Industry & Trade Bureau in China implemented a “Market Renovation Program”. This program includes the renovation of wholesale and wet markets, the formal registration of all stallholders in these markets and the introduction of a rapid test for pesticides residues. We apply the co-regulation framework to assess the implementation and results of the renovation program on the safety of vegetables. A mixed methods approach is used to investigate the effects of the renovation program. The qualitative study elaborates on the implementation of the renovation program and the behavioural changes of stakeholders in handling vegetables through interviews and field observations. The quantitative results confirm that the renovation program has a positive impact on vegetable safety. In conclusion, this study shows that the key factor for the success of the renovation program is the transition of authority from the local, public authority to the market management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3006
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2021


  • Co-regulation
  • Food safety
  • Pesticides residue

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