The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


This course examines a range law and policy issues relating to the production, consumption, and trade of food and wine. Its purpose is to introduce participants to the breadth of issues that impact the food we eat and the wine we drink, and to examine and critique their multiple roles as expressions of culture and identity; as daily necessities (at least in the case of food); and objects of commerce both locally and internationally. Note that this is not a 'how to' course for food and wine producers and does not cover aspects of the law where food and wine are treated like other commodities, such as contracts or tortious liability.

Availability2020 Course Timetables

Newcastle City Precinct

  • Winter - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Identify and critically evaluate, through oral and written communication, the current laws that impact food and wine

2. Engage in debate about the consequences of current laws and areas for reform

3. Compare the breadth of legal issues that regulate food and wine in Australia and internationally.


The content in this course includes the following topics:

  1. What is food and what is its significance, politically, culturally and legally?  What about wine and other alcoholic beverages?  
  2. Food in international law -  trade laws, food security, food sovereignty.
  3. Food and property -  land use, regulation and the changing production of food and wine.  This topic encompasses mainstream and more innovative (or historic) use of property for food.
  4. Food, wine, intellectual property and innovation¿ geographical indicators, plant breeders rights, patents, biotechnology.  This includes controversies such as terminator genes in food,
  5. Regulation of the content and production of food and wine -  food safety, consumer protection, and other sources of regulation. This includes controversies such as non-pasteurised dairy products, inclusion of additives to address public health, and food standards codes. 
  6. Regulation of commercial food and wine - standards, labelling and advertising.  This topic includes controversies such as voluntary labelling such as fair trade or halal, certification such as organic food, and country of origin labelling.

Assessment items

Participation: In-class and online participation

Journal: Reflective journal

Essay: Research Essay

Contact hours

Newcastle City Precinct


Face to Face On Campus 36 hour(s) per Term Full Term

The course may be delivered wholly in intensive mode; or in an equivalent combination of intensive and on-line delivery.