Specialisation Food Law and Regulatory Affairs

This specialisation focuses on the legal aspects of food safety and food safety management. Students will take a number of courses in law and, depending on their background, some (basic) courses in natural sciences.


This specialisation deals with the legal aspects regarding food and food safety. In most countries the production of food is strictly regulated. Both on international level (Codex Alimentarius, WHO, FAO, WTO, GATT) as well as national/regional level (EU, China, US). This includes all aspects of production, safety, labelling, use of additives, packaging, food supplements etc. Besides the true legal aspects, the food production chain is also regulated by a large number of private standards (ISO, BRC...). Food laws and standards have evolved exponentially the last decades, making it very difficult for food producers to keep up to date. There is thus an increased need for experts in the field of food law and regulatory affairs.

Wageningen University is the only programme worldwide offering a Master level education in this field.  As all food law is based on guaranteeing safe food to the consumer, Food Law and Regulatory Affairs is placed under the MSc Food Safety.

For whom and student population

The specialisation is open primarily for students with an undergraduate degree in Law or Food Science, but also students with a background in paralegal studies, European Studies, Governance&Policy, as well as Nutrition and related programmes.

Students come from a range of different backgrounds and nationalities from all over the world. In this way students with a legal background learn from students with a technical background and vice versa. For graduates it is of utmost importance that they can understand both the legal as the technical aspects of Food Law.

Read about the experiences of (graduated) students in Food Law in the Alumni Book.


Graduates are highly sought after. At the moment there are more jobs as graduates in this field. Graduates work all over the world in the food industry, as consultants (legal and in food), in governmental organisations (including EU, WHO, EFSA), food inspection services and in (specialised) law firms. Some also continue in an academic career (PhD) Graduates find positions all over the world.


Interested in taking part in this specialisation ? Find out more about the specific Admission requirements and the application procedures.


The programme is a specialised legal 2-year degree. The core programme in the first year consists of courses in food law, international trade and specialised IP. Students with a legal background will get two courses in food science and food safety. Students with a food background will get two courses on governance and economics.

The second years comprises a legal research thesis of 6 months and a 4-month internship in a food company, governmental organisation or law firm.

First year

All students take:
Food Quality Management
Food Law
Food Safety Management

Students with a natural science background take:
Food Safety Economics
European Union Institutions and Policies

Students with a background in law (or other non-technical background) take:
Basics in Food Technology
Food Hazards
These courses provide the necessary background in food technology and do not require a technological background.

All students choose at least 2 courses from:

Food Law, Management and Economics
Intellectual Property Rights
Comparitive Food Law: PR China and the USA
Global Economic (Trade) Law and Risk Regulations

For information on the different courses, see the study handbook of the university, or click on the course name above.

Second year

The second year of the programme consists of research; an individual thesis carried out at the university, and an internship in the field of food safety law carried out elsewhere:

•6 months individual research thesis at the Law Department.
•4 months (minimum, 6 months maximum), individual internship on food law outside Wageningen University.

Internships are mostly with international food companies and organizations like the World Health Organization. International internships are stimulated by the programme.

Recent thesis topics

•High pressure law
•Allergens in Law; Imperfections in the current European legislation, related to the safety and preferences of food allergic consumers
•’Filling the gap?’ Comparing accreditation and the GlobalGAP Certification Integrity Programme and evaluating the possibilities for an internal accreditatin body
•Analysis of Tanzania Food Law. ’Legal and Institutional Framework’.
•Risk Managers and Risk Assessors in the Creation of International Standards: FAO/WHO Expert Bodies- Codex Alimentarius Commission
•Update of risk assessments in European Union of main marine biotoxins. Literature review
•Assessing the regulatory impact of Pacific island countries adopting mandatory and harmonized nutrient content labeling
•From science to fork. The role of scientific risk assessment in EU's food safety management.
•Halal Food Regulation

Read about the experiences of (graduated) students in Food Law in the Alumni Book.

To the specialisation Applied Food Safety

Back to Specialisations