International Food Law


About this course

International Food Law (LAW-31806) addresses major aspects of food regulation and policy, looking at food safety, quality and sustainability in a global context. The course analyses the main legal regimes (like Trade Law and Human Rights) and sources (i.e. International Treaties, standards), and provides a general framework of this emerging system of rules. Against this background, the course looks at the activities of different International actors, like sovereign States, International Organizations (WTO, FAO, WHO, Codex Alimentarius Commission) and private stakeholders, and how they actively participate in shaping this system of rules.
After such overview, there is a specific focus on a range of cross-disciplinary subjects, such as public health, international trade, the right to food, intellectual property and international regulatory aspects of food production. International Food Law mainly explores the public policy responses to these issues at the international level, but investigates also new forms of private food regulation.
Within this scenario, the course also aims to describe an effective and coherent way to regulate complex issues like the global search for sustainability, regional and international tensions in trade liberalization and risk regulation and the implication of cultural and traditional insights.
The result is a truly international survey of the world's most debated and recent food regulation and policy in terms of safety, quality and sustainability.
After following the course, participants know what the International food law requirements on food safety, quality and sustainability are, how to apply them for legal compliance and disputes, and how to monitor food regulatory developments.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

  • Understand key features of International Food Law
  • Distinguish key institutional and substantive aspects of the different legal regimes addressed in the course
  • Critically evaluate the role of International Law in regulating food safety and quality aspects
  • Answer in a structure way questions about the theory and practice of International Law with reference to the food domain
  • Explain how different International actors are involved in guaranteeing a transition towards sustainable food systems
  • Address contemporary real-world issues such as how the rule of law is upheld at the International level, processes such as “harmonization of international standards”, risk assessment, the perceived legitimacy of GMO products in different jurisdictions
  • Interpret the law, monitor regulatory developments and legal compliance

Required prior knowledge

Assumed Knowledge:
Having successfully completed Introduction to Law for the Life and Social Sciences (LAW12806) and/or Food Law (LAW22806) is helpful, but not a requirement.

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Wageningen University.


  • Start date

    10 March 2025

    • Ends
      2 May 2025
    • Term *
      Period 5
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      1 Jun, 00:00 - 9 Feb 2025
These offerings are valid for students of Utrecht University