Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Food, Ecology and E.U. Law
Academic Year
Distance Learning

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Module Assessment  Written Assignment of 5,000 words  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Display an understanding of the ecology of food production and consumption and an appreciate of the relevance of ecology to development and character of EU policy and law in this field.

Display a knowledge and understanding of the underlying rationale and methodology of this broad field of EU policy and law and the tensions that exist therein.

Critically evaluate and test arguments relating to the need for, and value of, an over-arching system of supra-national governance in this field.

Critically engage and evaluate arguments relating to the role of law in mediating complex and potentially conflicting stakeholder interests - particularly in the context of highly controversial and politically and economically sensitive technologies such as agri-food biotechnology.

Locate and evaluate the relevant literature and materials in this field and use them in critical discussion of the aspects of food ecology and law studied in the module.

Present critical and well informed argument relating to the development and influence of European food policy and law with reference to the UK context.

Brief description

The broad objective of this course is to encourage students to develop a critical appreciation of the economic, political, environmental and cultural aspects of agriculture, food processing, trade and consumption. The first part of the module encourages students to consider the ecology of food production and consumption. Key issues such as the industrialization of agricultural, food processing and supply systems, as well as public health and the cultural aspects food consumption will be explored here.

The second half of this module aims to provide students with a general grounding in EU food policy and law, encouraging them to develop a sound appreciation of the reality and rhetoric of this free-trade oriented system of governance. Here a general overview of Community food law is provided, and then, building upon this essential grounding, the course then moves on to explore the application of so called `new technologies? to food production and processing, and the evolution of Community law governing genetically modified (GM) and `novel? foods (such as those produced using nanotechnologies). These `case studies? provide an ideal vehicle for an `in depth? consideration of some of the key challenges facing EU regulatory authorities seeking to negotiate a politically and economically tenable path through the minefield of the global food market. In particular, this part of the module serves to highlight the tensions that can arise between consumer and industry interests, differing perspectives on risk and environmental and food `safety?, +as well as the potential for contemporary food production to give rise to politically and economically costly trade disputes between the EU and key producer states such as the US. In particular, this part of the course focuses on the protective value of the law from the consumer perspective, and considers the way in which law seeks to mediate the sometimes conflicting interests of key stakeholders.


1. The Ecology of Production: Agri-Culture Past, Present and Future
2. Consuming Cultures: The Ecology of Food Consumption Past, Present and Future
3. From Farm to Table: EU Food Law
4. Regulating New Technologies in Food Production and Consumption.
5. The Ecology and Regulation of the Food Chain: Current Trends and Challenges


This module is at CQFW Level 7