This article examines the eu food industry (apropos of the 2013 ‘Horse Meat Scandal’) applying the notion of sociopathy which has hitherto been confined to analyses of corporate banking and insurance. In the ‘underground’ of the eu meat industry we encounter sociopaths nurtured not only by the rhizomes of its industrial con, but also by collective consumer apathy: Despite a pervasive culture of food fraud—with at least 1305 different ingredient adulteration cases since 1980—there is little criminological examination of the culture and environment of the everyday, ‘harmless’, sociopaths present in the tributaries of the eu food supply. More than merely mapping the food industry sociopath, our overall aim is to contribute an interdisciplinary reading of the processes which sustain and reproduce his kind.
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Braithwaite (1989) was right here in pointing out that when regulation is too strict, unreasonable, uncooperative, inflexibly rulebook-oriented, organised business subcultures of resistance develop. Once there is a climate of hostility between the business (industry) and regulators, the regulators lose capacity for informal control over the managers and how the business is run.
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