EU Food Law

Course content

Food law addresses the rules of the game for the food sector. It is relevant for consumers, food businesses and public authorities.

Legal issues concerning food quality and food safety are rapidly developing. Food standards are being developed and applied at the national level, at the EU level and at global level (WTO, FAO, WHO, Codex Alimentarius), but also by private parties. Many of these standards are of a technical nature and focus on food safety, food quality, consumer protection and consumer information.

This course introduces the different players who are active in the field of food law. The main part of the course is devoted to the system and the content of food law in the European Union. Topics discussed are amongst others:

  • the development of food law from the general principle of free movement of goods
  • the 21st Century architecture of the body of food law by means of the so-called General Food Law
  • food labelling
  • food safety and hygiene
  • novel foods including genetically modified foods
  • enforcement of food law.
Learning outcome

The aim is to give the student an in-depth understanding of the regulation of the food sector in the European Union. At the end of this course a student:


  • knows the relationship between the aims and responsibilities of the players in the field of food law and the content of the law
  • knows the content and functioning of the core area of EU food law
  • understands how law affects food safety and the position of interested parties



  • is able to describe the multi-layered structure of food law and the role of different players involved at national, European and international level
  • is able to find the relevant sources of EU food law in a given case



  • is able to formulate a legal problem statement, and to conduct legal reasoning and analysis of food related cases
  • is able to perform an analysis of the legal dimension of food related issues

The course will include:
- lectures and guest lectures;
- assignments;
- tutorials/group discussions.
Students prepare for lectures, study the sources, apply the theory to cases, discuss the cases in tutorials and perform an independent analysis. Students are expected to participate actively in discussions, groupwork and exercises during the course.

Bernd van der Meulen and Bart Wernaart (eds.) EU Food Law Handbook, Wageningen Academic Publishers, 2020

Selection of legislation, case law, and related documents

Prior knowledge on food matters and/or EU is helpful and therefore recommended.
The course is a master course in Food law primarily aimed at non-law students, but it is also relevant to students with previous experience in law. The course is open to all who have an interest in the subject.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
The written assignment is based on the application of a relevant selection of the topics addressed to a specific case.

3000 words (excluding references)
Exam registration requirements

Submission of written assignment

All aids allowed

Use of AI/Large Language Models is allowed as a source only. AI text generation or written analysis is not allowed. Students must list the AI source as well as prompts and indicate briefly how (or for what purpose) it was used in the exam paper.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

As the ordinary exam.

Criteria for exam assessment

The assessment is based on the criteria given by the Learning Outcomes

Short courses / Summer school

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 35
  • Preparation
  • 86
  • Exercises
  • 45
  • Exam
  • 40
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master
5-23 August 2024
This is a three week course. A detailed study programme will be made for the course including e.g. lectures, guest lectures and group work. The last days of the course will be dedicated to work on the exam paper.
Study Board of Natural Resources, Environment and Animal Science
Contracting department
  • Department of Food and Resource Economics
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Helle Tegner Anker   (3-788471507976827f3e7b853e747b)

Bernd van der Meulen

Saved on the 11-10-2023

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