Increasingly, local food markets supplied by small farmers are being replaced by global supply chains (GSCs) dominated by lead retailers, most of them based in developed countries. Workers employed by suppliers often work in low-paid, insecure, and only semi-skilled jobs. To stimulate improvements in participant firm productivity, thereby promoting decent work, it is important to understand the salient features and dynamics of food GSCs, including how these are governed. This research has focused on food GSCs, particularly with regard to the Asia-Pacific region, and has found these supply chains to be extended, heterogeneous, and sensitive to consumer safety concerns. While participation in GSCs offers the potential for social and economic upgrading, in practice there is little evidence of this occurring. Case studies of four lead retailers highlight a preoccupation with mitigating reputational risk arising from food quality failures and, to a lesser extent, risks arising from suppliers’ sub-standard labour and environmental practices. Risks are mitigated through lead retailer enforcement of process standards regarding food quality and private regulation of first-tier suppliers, often based on third-party certification and auditing for labour and environmental standards. The report concludes by considering the implications of these and related findings for the ILO Decent Work Agenda. The focus is on public interventions designed to facilitate improved standards, and participation by stakeholders in the design and regulation of such interventions.