Food law: a milestone to a career- alumni book European Institute for Food Law Law and Governance Group, Wageningen University December 2014, Wageningen, The Netherlands Editor: Rozita Spirovska Vaskoska Proof readers: Joseph Oppong and John McLaggan Illustrations: Alex Surugiu (www.alexsurugiu.com), Long Hoang Phi, Katharina Geiss, Elena Corolovska Contact: Hollandseweg 1 6706KN Wageningen Tel: +31(0)317484159 e-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org The editor would like to thank Mike Jacobs (Wageningen Academic Publishers) for valuable suggestions. This book, its texts and illustrations are subject to copyright. Any usage of parts of this publication is forbidden without the approval by the European Institute for Food Law.
copyright; Wageningen University
WAGENINGEN U NIVERSITY UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE L AW AND G OVERNANCE G ROUP . S INCE THEN , HUNDREDS OF STUDENTS FROM THE MASTER PROGRAMS F OOD S AFETY , F OOD Q UALITY M ANAGEMENT , I NTERNATIONAL D EVELOPMENT S TUDIES AND OTHERS , HAVE FOLLOWED THE COURSE . S OME OF THESE STUDENTS HAVE CHOSEN TO WRITE THEIR THESIS WITHIN THE FIELD OF FOOD LAW ; OTHERS HAVE UNDERTAKEN INTERNSHIPS IN A LAW RELATED FIELD ; AND MANY ARE CURRENTLY THE
ENGAGED AS PROFESSIONALS IN A DIVERSITY OF JOBS WHERE FOOD LAW IS APPLIED OCCASIONALLY OR REGULARLY .
BOOK INCLUDES THE EXPERIENCES OF A GROUP OF STUDENTS THAT CHOSE FOOD
LAW AS THEIR DESTINY IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER IN THE PAST TEN YEARS .
To explore the potential of regulation to improve the quality of life by prof. Bernd van der Meulen Professor and chair holder of the Law and Governance group ‘Food law’ is the answer my team and I formulated to the questions
about what a lawyer has to contribute to the life sciences and what Wageningen University has to contribute to the legal sciences. There is no exception to the rule that the most successful players have a thorough understanding of the rules of the games they play. In every country in the world, the food sector – comprising primary production,
distribution, retail, catering and much more – is among the country‟s largest economic sectors in terms of employment, turnover as well as the number of customers. The importance of the food sector cannot be overestimated. Nothing less than life and survival is at stake. It comes as no surprise that public and private regulators intensively involve themselves. For many in the food sector, be they businessmen, government officials or academics, it is a challenge to master the rules of the game. In businesses the persons who are responsible for facing this
challenge, are often in departments or positions labelled „regulatory affairs‟. They find their counterparts in specialised government departments, independent food safety authorities and NGOs. Prior to 2004, hardly anywhere in the world were academic teaching and research available specifically addressing the regulatory affairs function in the food sector. People had to rely on educating themselves. This void is not only a result from neglect but also from a mutual fear of the unknown. In the regulation of food, totally different cultures come together. The average food expert feels uneasy when faced with the complexities of law. The average lawyer feels intimidated by the science involved in food. If you read this book, you will notice there is nothing „average‟ about people excelling in food law. It takes two healthy legs to walk confidently. The successful regulatory affairs manager needs both a science-leg and a law-leg to advance. If ever there has been an interdisciplinary field, this is it. The challenge in teaching food law is to find the balance between the two (i.e. science and law). Reading what the alumni have to say, I am confident that somehow we have it right. They do not just walk, they run and even jump. I feel privileged to teach extraordinary people such as the ones contributing to this book. The strict logic that science students possess enables them to make amazing advances in law. The critical approach of social science students and recently also lawyers ensures a problem-solving attitude. We have the most inspiring debates in class as well as during thesis research. Both in teaching and research, the Law and Governance group has invested in organising the subject matter in a way that makes it possible not only to „know‟ food law, but actually to understand it, and thus to master it. v
Our approach to law is not identical to what is mostly done at a traditional law faculty. Generally, law focuses on the behaviour of people. In food law we place more emphasis on the requirements regarding products and processes and how to make these conform to the law. In this sense one could label our approach to food law, a „technical compliance‟ approach (as opposed to the „behavioural compliance‟ approach). For me as a legal practitioner and scholar, food law is amazing. Everything that is interesting in law is present in the world of food. At an unprecedented scale, worldwide harmonisation of national legislation takes place (through the Codex Alimentarius). More than anywhere else do private regulators challenge the hegemony of legislation. Science is at the heart of the law. Most of the leading cases in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and in the European Union (EU) are about foods and beverages. Food law is a functional area of law that cuts across all doctrinal areas of law: public and private, national and international, civil, administrative, constitutional and criminal. Over the past decade, many people in our team and other friends- my brothers in arms, even when they were sisters- have contributed for shorter or longer periods of time to the development of food law. Menno van der Velde (now retired) was the first to join me. As Associate Professor he applied his great knowledge of EU law to the field of food. Ab van Eldijk (now retired), Assistant Professor, created „International Governance‟. It was a minor programme at Wageningen University avant la lettre. Within this programme, many students focussed their MSc research on food governance. Otto Hospes (now with the Public Administration and Policy group), Associate Professor, took the lead in our research efforts on human rights. In this field he was joined for a few years by Irene Hadiprayitno, our first postdoc (now with Leiden University). Anna Szajkowska (now with the European Commission) was the first who joined Preface by Bernd van der Meulen
us as a staff member after following our food law course. Anna was also the first to do a PhD with us on food law. She focussed on the question how science is used to govern food law itself. Annelies Freriks (now professor at Utrecht University and attorney in Eindhoven), as Associate Professor, reinforced our understanding of the law in particular regarding foods of animal origin and enforcement. Harry Bremmers, Associate Professor, is both a lawyer and an economist. He took the lead in our critical empirical-economic assessment of the impact law has on the food sector. His special emphasis is on food information law. Margherita Poto (now with the University of Turin), postdoc, enriched our research and teaching with comparative dimensions including Africa and Asia â€“ China in particular. Eva van der Zee does a comparative PhD study on informational governance. Dominique Sinopoli is the second alumna who joined our ranks. She carries out PhD research on authorisation requirements. Kai Purnhagen joined the team as Assistant Professor. His core competence is in risk regulation. Hanna Schebesta, brought her expertise in public procurement, international law and also Dutch law to the team. Our newest team member is Dasep Wahidin. Dasep performs a comparative PhD research on food safety objectives and the appropriate level of protection. Within Wageningen UR, we found the friendship of the Centre for Genetic Resources (Bert Visser). Together we invested in research and teaching in Intellectual Property. Niels Louwaars was the first to join the Law and Governance Group, soon followed by Bram de Jonge (postdoc) who now leads a research project on the seed sector development in Africa. Among other things, this project comprises two PhD researches executed by Peter Munyi and Mohammed Hassena Beko. Peggy Grossman is a friend who was with the law group long before any of the current staff joined the chair group. Peggy held a chair in Agrarian Law at the University of Illinois. She ensured that, the Law vii
group gained a presence in the wider world, including the United States. Bryan Endress, also from the University of Illinois helped us to develop education and research in American (US) food law. We connected our food law classes through a transatlantic internet dialogue. The first ever in the Netherlands to do a PhD in food law (enforcement in particular), was Marieke Lugt (now with FrieslandCampina). In our start-up phase, she provided us with invaluable support in building knowledge and network. From the beginning, Cecilia Kühn (consultant and owner of EU Food Comply) realised the potential of food law. She therefore contributed lectures to the food law course on the importance of legal understanding in product and business development. Also from the very start, Maryvon Noordam (RIKILT) brought her extraordinary knowledge of safety limits on residues and contaminants in food to the food law course. Bart Wernaart (now with Fontys University for Applied Sciences in Eindhoven and „sHertogenbosch and musician) came to do an internship. He stayed as an external PhD researcher on the human right to food and contributed lectures to several courses. Ellis van Diermen (Précon consultancy) helped us to offer food-labelling workshops, both in the curriculum and in post academic education. Li Jiao is a lawyer at HIL International Lawyers and Legal Advisers. HIL has offices in Amsterdam, Shanghai and Beijing. Li Jiao and the team from HIL designed and teach the course in Chinese Law on Food and Agriculture. Li Jiao has currently joined us as an external PhD researcher. Willem Bruil is a professor of Agrarian Law in Groningen and director of the Institute for Agrarian Law. He put his conviction that Wageningen University needs education in agrarian law into action by providing us with a BSc course. Students and staff always found a welcoming reception at the secretariat of the Law and Governance Group, at first from Ellen Wegkamp and Heleen Danen, later from Maarit Junnikkala and today from Germaine Dunselman and Gisella Cloosterman-Kersten. Preface by Bernd van der Meulen
Without a doubt, our staunchest ally within Wageningen University is Ralf Hartemink, director of the food educations programmes. He was the one who decided that the Food Safety MSc programme needed to include a legal dimension. He was also the first to act on the feedback from alumni that education in food law is indispensable to be successful in regulatory affairs, but that one course is not enough. He took the audacious decision to split the Food Safety MSc programme into two separate specialisations. As a consequence, Wageningen University now offers a programme that is unique in the world: the MSc specialisation Food Safety Law. To create a basis for the cooperation with our friends outside Wageningen UR, on the 4th of April 2004, we established the European Institute for Food Law. The institute is an independent foundation dedicated to promoting research and teaching in food law. The Institute together with Wageningen Academic Publishers set up the European Institute for Food Law book series. In this series, we publish our textbooks, PhD theses, conference books of the European Food Law Association and other research. At the time of writing, the series comprises of 10 titles. See: http://www.wageningenacademic.com/eifl. The Institute endorses the publication of the European Food and Feed Law Review by Lexxion in Berlin. See http://www.lexxion.de/en/zeitschriften/fachzeitschriften-englisch/effl.html. The Institute collaborated with Wageningen Academy to develop the Food Law Academy. The Food Law Academy offers (on a yearly basis) summer school in Food Regulatory Affairs and a one-day course in food-labelling. Martin Holle, professor of administrative and food law at the University of Applied Sciences in Hamburg has recently joined this initiative. ix
Kai Purnhagen has taken the initiative to set up under SSRN a series of Wageningen Working Papers in Law and Governance. It took the comparatively very small Law and Governance Group at Wageningen University into the SSRN top 200 of international law schools/faculties (ranked by number of paper downloads). I am profoundly grateful to all staff members, secretariat and friends who have contributed in taking food law at Wageningen University and Wageningen in the world of law to where it is today. I am very happy and grateful to all alumni who share with us in this book what food law means to them today.
Preface by Bernd van der Meulen
CONTENTS ………………………………………………………..………………………………………………………………….…..1 THE EXPECTATIONS by Floris Kets……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….2 THE FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF A LAW GRADUATE by Soumaya Bermouna…………………………………….………6 SECOND YEAR IN PROGRESS by Alberto Scorzon……………………………………………………………………………………….8 THE FIRST GRADUATE OF FOOD SAFETY LAW by Marion Namusisi………………………………………………………11 ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…15 ON A CROSSROAD TO A CAREER by Elisabeth Montes…………………………………………………………….………………16 FROM INTERNSHIP TO A JOB IN THE COMMISSION by Silvia Schmidt………………………………………………18 PURSUING A PHD by Dominique Sinopoli…………………………………………………………………………………………………..22 WHAT DID IT TAKE TO FOLLOW FOOD LAW? by Joseph Oppong…………………………………………………………24 FROM INTERNSHIP TO A CONSULTANT JOB by Nicky de Wildt…………………………………………………………….26 PASSION FOR TEACHING AND RESEARCH by Bart Wernaart…………………………………………………………………30 CONSULTANCY AND ACADEMIA by Rozita Spirovska Vaskoska………………………………………………………………32 OWN CONSULTANCY by Ioanna Bousoula………………………………………………………………………………………………….36 THE FIRST PHD IN FOOD LAW by Anna Szajkowska…………………………………………………………………………….…40 IN THE WORLD OF INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS by Jose Javier Ocampo Beltran……………… …43
CAREER IN SCIENTIFIC PROJECT MANAGEMENT by Edmund Teoh………………………………………….…………46 FOOD LAW IN POLICY MAKING by Sophie van der Ploeg………………………………………………………………….……49 FOOD LAW IN BUSINESS by Giorgio Schiavon……………………………………………………………………………………….…52 FOOD LAW IN ACTION by Jeroen Manders………………………………………………………………………………….…………….54 ……………………………………………………………………………………….57 xi
BEFORE AND DURING T HE
F OOD S AFETY L AW WAS LAUNCHED IN 2012 AND IN S EPTEMBER 2014 IT GOT FOUR GRADUATES . C URRENT STUDENTS AND THE FIRST GRADUATE REFLECT ON THEIR 1 FIRST EXPOSURE TO FOOD LAW AND THEIR PIONEERING EXPERIENCE .
Dutch, enrolled in the Food Safety Law Master program, in 2014 Five years ago I started law school at the Utrecht University. Law wasn‟t my first choice, I wanted to do philosophy or social geography, but I ended up trying law school. The thing I liked the most about law school is that from the first lessons we were thought that an objective truth doesn‟t exist, there are just too many sides and personal feelings involved to get a „true‟ answer. You‟ll need to make your point by solid argumentation, and convince the other party that what you think is the solution is indeed the „right‟ answer. There were almost no areas of law I didn‟t like, which made choosing my subjects very difficult. Luckily I didn‟t like criminal law, so I chose real estate and notary law. During my bachelor there were no courses to get some practical experience, so I had to look for that outside of the courses. The study association for notary law provided the first look at the world which could come after university. The notary was not my place to end up in; real estate law wasn‟t really my
cup of tea. So I did an internship at a municipality (in a place „I had never imagined there was an entire program dedicated to this specific part of law. When I got the
chance to do a week long course in Food law, the ‘Winter Food Law School’, I took it, and was sold from that moment on.“
called Eemnes1), to see if the working environment was the one I was looking for. Although the job wasn‟t that hard and the cases I had to deal with were small scale cases (like the conflict between two bakery shops who could sell oil balls 2 at around New Year‟s) it was a nice internship in which my colleges treated me like an equal. Next to this internship I took on a job as a voluntary legal adviser in small cases. These cases where about people who didn‟t get their money back after buying a defective product or students who had a
conflict with their university about getting a chance to re-do an exam. Our clients didn‟t have very complex cases, but it was hard to get to the bottom of what the clients‟ problems were and what they wanted from you. Writing formal letters and trying to get things done were much more difficult than expected, but that is why this was a very good learning experience. When the time came to choose a Master program I made an appointment with one of my favourite professors to ask which program was best suited for me. Law is just like studying a language, an Alfa study, but I was looking for a program which contained at least a bit of technical content. Such Master program was the program on Construction and City Planning Law. It was more technical than before, in the sense that we had to deal with certain construction and building regulations as well as environmental 1 2
Eemnes is a small town, about four times smaller than Wageningen. Oil balls are a Dutch specialty, its deep fried dough with sultanas and sugar on top, Dutch people only eat it in the weeks around New Year.
rules. Environmental rules are made to protect biodiversity, which are in a whole other league than economic or political arguments which law students are used to. Still it was not exactly what I was looking for. During my bachelor and also during by Master I visited a lot of lectures on a wide variety of subjects close to law. One of these extra lectures was on food law given by prof. Bernd van der Meulen. Before this lecture I had never imagined there was an entire program dedicated to this specific part of law. When I got the chance to do a week long course in food law, the „Winter Food law School‟, I took it, and was sold from that moment on. So I sent my application to Wageningen University and got admitted. There was only one program that was open to students with a background in law, Food Safety Law. Because I had no previous experience with food science I have to take certain technological courses, next to the obligatory law courses. Because I have neither a science nor a food technology
understanding on all the chemical and biological reactions in food. I hope to have a basic understanding of how food scientists think and a little on what they are talking about, at The expectations by Floris Kets
the end of my Master program. The law courses are open to law students, but also for students without a background in law. I hope the law courses have enough room build in for the technical parts of food law, but emphasize on the legal problems around foodstuffs. Not only Dutch and European law is on the menu, but also American and Chinese law. These different legal structures and law will provide a deeper understanding in the development of food law worldwide, and maybe show some hints in how to improve our own system. In these courses, students with a law degree will finally be able to support their fellow students, in understanding how to read and understand the law. By studying law, the students with a science degree will learn the way lawyers think and hopefully will be able to understand us better and vice versa. For a future career, I see a bright future for all the students in the Master program Food Safety Law, particularly because of the increasing attention on food safety. There is even room in the program for risk and quality management and communication. The total package makes a student able to work in many different companies or for various governmental organizations. In my case I have the advantage of having a complete law education, bachelor and master. So I can also work as a lawyer or as a legal adviser within a company. Students with a non-law background wonâ€&#x;t for example be able to file lawsuits. On the other hand, I will never set foot in a laboratory, because my knowledge in food science will even after this master be too limited to become a food scientist. Other law students on the other hand, not including those in the food safety master, will have less knowledge on food science and the specific area of food law in which some chemical knowledge is needed, so this niche will be reserved for food safety students. I only started a few weeks ago, but my knowledge on foodstuffs is already increasing a lot. I hope this process will last to the very end of the program, and will continue in my future career.
Dutch from Moroccan descent, enrolled in the Food Safety Law Master program in September 2013 Due to my legal background, I qualified for the Food Safety Law specialization. Prior to the Food Safety Law program, I have studied Law at the
â€œInternational Law and Human Rightsâ€?. The Food Safety Law specialisation focuses on the legal aspects of food safety. The Food Safety Law program consists of 2 years with a study load of 120 ECTS. The first year consists of learning theory of the applicable courses. As a student of the Food Safety Law Program, I followed some courses from the Food Chemistry, Food Microbiology and/or Food Quality Management department in addition to the mandatory courses from the Law and Governance Group. The law-related courses I followed include: Food Law; International and American Food Law (comparative law); Food Law, Management and Economics and Intellectual Property Rights. Next to these compulsory courses, one can choose an optional course. I have chosen the optional course Chinese Law on Food and Agriculture. For me personally, this 6
last mentioned course was inspiring. I was not familiar with Chinese Law therefore I have experienced new insights. I have written a paper in the context of Chinese Law on Food and Agriculture. At the request of prof. Bernd Van der Meulen, I
“I have learned a lot from each course and I therefore appreciate all the lecturers for their efforts in providing the impressive courses.”
have re-written the paper into an article with the help of HIL International Lawyers and Advisers and Junrong Li, a fellow student who helped me in translating some texts. My article has been published by Lexxion in the European Food and Feed Law Review (EFFL) in its third edition of 2014. The title of my paper is: „China‟s Agricultural Project Finance and Support Policies‟. Currently I am doing my Master thesis research at the Law and Governance group, as the second year of the program consists of a thesis and internship. Both my thesis and internship are related to food law. My experiences with the Food Safety Law program are very positive. I have learned a lot from each course and I therefore appreciate all the lecturers for their efforts in providing the impressive and most importantly, informative courses. Most of all I have found the guest lectures of the Food Law Management and Economics course highly interesting and educational. The lectures have broadened my view on many areas. The program has fully met my expectations and has provided me a lot of knowledge which I would be able to apply in the future work field in where my ambition is to work as a policy maker in food legislation, particularly in the field of international law. I would definitely recommend the Food Safety Law program to anyone who wants to learn more about the legal aspects of the dynamic and interesting field of food safety.
Italian, enrolled in the Master program Food Safety Law in 2013 At the beginning of this academic experience I was first enrolled in the Food Quality Management Program but, after following an inspiring course in Food Law, I decided to redirect my studies towards food law topics. The subjects of the courses, like International and American Food Law and Intellectual Property Rights especially captured my interest as well as the preparedness and enthusiasm of all members of the Law and Governance Group. During the optional course in Chinese Law in Food and Agriculture I had the occasion to write a research paper that, with the expert help of other co-authors, developed into an article on Organics in Chinese Food Law. The article has been published by the European Food and Feed Law Review (EFFL). After passing all the compulsory and optional courses and exams, Iâ€&#x;m now focusing on my thesis.
In my past career as freelance agronomist and safety manager in public administration and the private sector, I „The extensive freedom given to us on the
always worked on the bases of European regulations and
choice of the study subjects and on the
directives. As for the inspections that I performed for a
methods we can use to investigate the
certification body towards rural development projects, the
topics, accuracy and precision of the scientific content of the research and advantageous dynamics in group work are
educational and research experience.“
majority of the work was coordinated under the European legal framework. As a second most regulated sector after the car business, food and feed production has a very relevant economic importance. All wine and oil producers, caterers, food packagers and farmers I worked with are subjects of those laws. Now I‟m taking the opportunity to
expand my knowledge on the legal framework that regulates the production of food and feed in Europe and in many non-EU countries. Following the suggestion of Prof. Van der Meulen to pursue my own curiosity and personal interest, I‟m now designing my thesis to investigate the fascinating aspects of organics in Europe with a special focus on the differences between Member States. Up to this point I acknowledge that my expectations have been widely fulfilled even though I have studied more in the last year than in almost my entire first degree in tropical agriculture.
The extensive freedom given to students on the choice of the study subjects and the methods we can use to investigate the topics, accuracy and precision of the scientific content of the research and advantageous dynamics in group work are the major innovations in my educational and research experience. I strongly recommend the Food Safety Law specialisation for anyone who is interested in the legal matters related to food production, irrespective of their background. Iâ€&#x;m confident that with the preparation I am building during the two years of this Master programme, together with the contacts I have made in order to complete my thesis and perform the internship, I will have great opportunities to find an interesting and satisfactory job.
Second year in progress by Alberto Scorzon
Ugandan, first graduate of the Master program Food Safety Law in 2014 My name is Marion Namusisi, and I hail from Uganda. I am proud to be one of the first graduates of the MSc Food Safety Law specialisation at Wageningen University, 2014. My choice of this program was a deliberate effort driven by the desire to contribute to bridging the existing gap in the Ugandan food regulation system. The 2-year long program was a tremendous journey that I will always be proud to share. The journey begun on the 1st September 2012. Initially, it was plain jubilation for finally making it into one of the most prestigious universities in Europe. Then followed a 3-weeks AID excitement
punctuated by orientation to different amusement sites, dancing sprees, comedy shows and pub crawls. The excitement was however soon superseded by courses. Food Safety Law being a new specialization, I only had a scanty idea of what to expect, yet I was fully determined not to leave any stone unturned, making use of every opportunity presented at each step. My very first exposure arrived in a form of a 11
compulsory course titled Food Law within which I had the opportunity to participate in a transatlantic blog with peers from Illinois University. Exchanging intellectual ideas through this platform helped me build the initial confidence necessary to steer through the entire course. The subsequent courses were equally interesting and challenging, for example International and American Food Law and Intellectual Property Rights. The teaching methods were superb and useful for stimulating â€žI could never count myself luckier than having the opportunity to visit the European Parliament, European Commission's DG SANCO, Food Drink Europe and the European Court of Justice.â€œ
multidimensional student development. Applying a mixture of lectures, paper writing, written exams, oral presentations, group assignments
personally, professionally and intellectually. This was sealed off by a team of highly skilled, qualified and friendly teaching staff led by Professor Bernd van der Meulen that worked closely with students to ensure a successful end.
Much can be said about the conducive learning environment. However, in my opinion, the advanced technology, flexible schedules and the well organised study materials clearly stood out. The idea of accessing course materials via Blackboard was very fascinating and presented the liberty for students to access required study materials at their convenience. Other interesting highlights about the program are the interesting excursions organized to some prestigious legal institutions and organizations. I could never count myself luckier than having the opportunity to visit the European Parliament, European Commission's DG SANCO, Food Drink Europe and The first graduate of Food Safety Law by Marion Namusisi
the European Court of Justice. During these visits, much was gained, including the opportunity to interact with experts and legislators and of course having a practical experience of the theoretical work covered in class. To crown off the program, I undertook a thesis and internship at the Law and Governance Group. This marked yet another phase of the acquisition and development of special skills. I did my thesis in Uganda on an interesting topic, â€žfood fraudâ€&#x;. This was immediately followed by an internship position at IOI Loders Croklaan Europe where I worked for 4 months on a project concerning business to business contractual linkages. I feel honoured that my thesis paper has been accepted for publication in the prestigious European Food and Feed Law (EFFL) journal. Today, I am very proud to disclose that on the 24th September 2014, I made it into the records of the Law and Governance Group of Wageningen University as the first graduate of the MSc Food Safety Law specialization. I have since embarked on a career pursuit in this direction. I am currently working on publishing my thesis paper while anticipating a challenging position in the regulatory affairs department of a food company or an NGO with a global footprint. Looking into the future, I think it is all bright, with lots of opportunities. I can never be happier for choosing to do the MSc Food Safety Law specialization. In a nut shell, the program exceeded my expectation; fun, discovery, experience, personal development, professional networks, international exposure and a bright career prospect. All these are part of the success story of this program. To this end, I highly recommend this program to prospective students who have the motivation and passion for a food law career.
AFTER T HE CAREERS OF THE FOOD LAW ALUMNI INCLUDE GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS , INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS , ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS , CONSULTANCY COMPANIES AND FREELANCING , SALES , FOOD SAFETY AGENCIES , INSPECTIONS SERVICES ET CETERA . S INCE MOST OF THE ALUMNI , INCLUDED HEREIN , AS WELL AS THE OTHERS , ARE WITHIN THEIR FIRST YEARS OF PROFESSIONAL EXPOSURE , THE PRESENT INTERSECTION IS JUST AN EMBARKING OF DIVERSITY OF CAREERS IN FOOD LAW AND RELATED FIELDS . 15 Photo by Long Hoang Phi
Mexican, graduated in the Master program Applied Food Safety in 2014 Hereby, I would like to share my experience within the Law and Governance department at Wageningen University. I am a graduate from the Master in Food Safety at this same University and I am from Mexico. I followed the Food Law course within my academic program in 2012. I decided to take my thesis in the Food Law department with a topic which is a current concern worldwide: „food fraud‟. Working at the Law and Governance group was a very rewarding experience. I was in direct contact with people involved in governmental institutions, food safety authorities and experts like prof. Bernd van der Meulen, so it was not just learning from theory but experiences added from real life-scenarios. The Food Law course gave me a complete insight of how food law is controlled within Europe and thus, it helped me analyse what can be improved and what the differences between different Member States are. Comparing EU law with the laws of other countries triggered my curiosity and that is why I decided to undertake my thesis research
“It is not just about learning a lot, but also a lot of job opportunities may rise from it.“
within the Law and Governance group comparing how food fraud was
controlled in Europe and in the United States. It was an enriching experience, from which I learnt a lot and developed valuable skills. In addition, I was able to present my results at the company where I had my internship: PrĂŠcon Food Management. The consultants at PrĂŠcon found my thesis research very interesting and it helped them to assess the problem of food fraud with some of the companies they work for. I would definitely recommend to other students to take the food law course. It is not just about learning a lot, but also a lot of job opportunities may rise from it. Food law has influenced my career by providing the expertise for me to work in food regulatory affairs, a field I have a lot of interest and experience in. In the near future, I would like to develop a career in food regulatory affairs, especially facilitating trade or improving legislation.
Photo by Elena Corolovska
Italian / German, graduated in the Master program Food Safety Law in 2014 Courses taught by the Law and Governance group: -
International and American Food Law
Intellectual Property Rights
Food Law, Management and Economics
MSc Internship and Thesis Law and Governance Internship: Traineeship at the “nutrition, food composition and information”
Consumers (DG SANCO) of the European Commission Thesis title: “Sports nutrition products in 2014: should these products further be regulated at Community level? An overview of the current functioning of the sports nutrition market as well as the position of relevant stakeholders in relation to potential future regulatory needs for sports nutrition products”
Although it was not an easy task to put into words the extent to which “I had the honour of following courses given by researchers and experts in their field – be it of food microbiology, food safety, and, of course, food law – who would incessantly do their best to inspire their students, challenge them, and encourage them to go that extra mile.”
the Food Safety Law master program at Wageningen University has shaped the young professional that I am today, if you bear with me during the following few paragraphs I will take you through just that – my academic and professional journey. Following the completion of my Bachelor of Science in Health and Wellbeing at the Amsterdam University College (AUC), I was in search of a master programme that would complement this undergraduate degree in a very specific and focused way, all the while answering to my interests in public health, food safety, and food policy. When I came across the master program in Food Safety Law taught in one of
the best universities in this field, I immediately applied and was luckily accepted. As I would soon realise, Wageningen University‟s reputation was not undeserved and the master program did indeed fulfil my wishes. I had the honour of following courses given by researchers and experts in their field – be it of food microbiology, food safety, and, of course, food law – who would incessantly do their best to inspire their students, challenge them, and encourage them to go that extra mile. It follows that these two years were certainly very intense, stressful at times, but also extremely rewarding from a personal, as well as, a professional perspective. Of the courses taught by the Law and Governance group, I was particularly fascinated by those that highlighted the impact that food law and policies have on economics, management, and ultimately on 19
everyday life (e.g. Food Law; Food law, Management and Economics). I quickly realised that food law can be a powerful tool with which to shape and hopefully improve societal wellbeing. For my internship I was given the great opportunity to carry out a 5-month traineeship at the Directorate General responsible for Health and Consumers (DG SANCO) of the European Commission. The unit to which I was assigned dealt with issues related to nutrition, food composition and information. This extremely enriching experience complemented my master at WUR very well. Indeed, after having studied the theory behind food law, I could witness how the process of creating food legislation was carried out in practice. I was also involved in drafting and revising implementing acts of European provisions which I had explored in courses taught by the Law and Governance group. A final task was to research the impact of current legislation covering products for specific consumer groups at EU level. Within products intended for different consumer groups, I found foodstuffs intended for sportspeople to be of particular interest and dedicated my thesis topic to researching the impact of current and potential regulatory provisions on these products at the European level. I used the notions learnt in Food Law and related courses on a daily basis during my traineeship, the writing of my thesis, as well as during my current job as an external consultant in the enforcement unit at DG SANCO. The aspects that fascinate me most about the realm of Food Law are (1) the divergence of opinions among stakeholders with regards to certain existing or potential food law provisions and (2) the concrete application of food law and its potentially great impact on consumers' everyday life. The Food Safety Law Master program at Wageningen University has exceeded my expectations. It has opened career opportunities that I had not even dreamed of being a possibility prior to specialising in this
From internship to a job in the Commission by Silvia Schmidt
branch. I am proud to be an alumna of this master program and can only advise potential future students interested in this field to apply and be as continuously inspired and challenged as I was, first during my studies, then my traineeship, and finally during my current occupation.
American, currently working on her PhD, graduated in the Master program Food Safety in 2013 I did a BSc in Food Science at Cornell University in the US. During my first year in Wageningen I took the Food Law course. When I first came here I was unsure which direction I wanted to go into within the food safety field, but the Food Law course convinced me to pursue this area further. Therefore I took another course from the Law and Governance group, International and Comparative Food Law, and did my thesis and internship in law. My thesis was a comparative study of food additive regulation in the European Union and United States. Afterwards I did a regulatory affairs` internship at Heineken. During the second year of my MSc I also had the opportunity to give several lectures in both the Food Law and International and Comparative Law courses. During my MSc I was also a student assistant for the Law and
â€œThe knowledge I gained during the two years of my MSc has been very valuable so far, and I would certainly recommend this program to anyone.â€?
Governance group. I have organized and been a participant on 22
various food law-related excursions; to Brussels, The Hague and Geneva. In Brussels we visited DG SANCO, FoodDrinkEurope and the European Parliament. We went to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)/Foreign Agricultural Service in The Hague. On the excursion to Geneva we visited the World Health Organization (WHO), WTO, Representation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the WTO and the Advisory Centre on WTO Law. This year in Geneva we will be visiting the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as well. The excursions have been a wonderful opportunity to learn more about food law in the â€œreal worldâ€? and to meet experts in the field. The positive experience I had is quite evident in my selection of a post-MSc career: I am currently doing a PhD with the Law and Governance group in the area of international food safety regulations. The knowledge I gained during the two years of my MSc has been very valuable so far, and I would certainly recommend this program to anyone.
Ghanaian, enrolled in the Food Quality Management Master program in 2012 I had my Bachelorâ€&#x;s degree in Laboratory Technology from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana in 2006. Prior to my enrolment in the Food Quality Management master program, I was engaged in a number of organisations, the last of which is the Methodist University College Ghana (also my current employer), where I am employed as the Laboratory Technologist in the Faculty of Applied Sciences. As part of my job, I had to train students of the Faculty in applied analytical sciences, manage the day-to-day activities of the science laboratories, assure the quality of the food processing unit and Iâ€&#x;m also the Internship Coordinator. As
Internship Coordinator, my role called for specialist knowledge and practical expertise
(needed to train food science students who are assigned to the Facultyâ€&#x;s processing unit) which was not provided in my previous educational training, therefore in my search to find a program to bridge this educational gap, I came across the Food Quality Management program at Wageningen University. My first encounter with law related to a technical field was during my first job, after my bachelor, as a Quality Assurance Analyst in a pharmaceutical company. Here we had to apply the standards set (ISO, 24
GMP, GLP, Codex etc.) in the operations of the company. Therefore I was really excited when I realised I had to follow the course in food law as part of the curriculum for the Food Quality Management program. This is because I always wanted
“Lecturers are friendly, programs are flexible, educational trips are both informative and exciting”
to pursue a career in quality and regulatory Affairs. However after my first contact with food law, my expectations were exceeded and I realised that I needed more of food law both for my current and future jobs. I therefore tried to find any opportunity which will permit me to pursue my interest (and there are a lot of such opportunities in WUR, which allow students to tailor their programs). After some meetings with my study advisor and the programs coordinator, I was granted permission by the Examination Board to exchange my internship with four courses from the Law and Governance group (i.e. Food Law, Management and Economics; International and American Food Law; Food, Nutrition and Human Rights and I also wrote a special paper on “the establishment of microbiological criteria in the EU”). By the encouragement of Prof. Bernd van der Meulen, Chair of the Law and Governance group, the process of turning my paper into a published article has been initiated. Education in Wageningen is unparalleled; however the training at the Law and Governance group is exceptional. Lecturers are friendly, programs are flexible, educational trips are both informative and exciting. The training in the Law and Governance group has provided me with the skills and expertise to perform my duties with confidence as a Lecturer and Quality Assurance (QA) Manager, in my organisation. It has also provided me with the expertise to contribute to the development of food law in my country and the prerequisite to pursue further studies in a law related field. I therefore strongly recommend the Food Safety Law program to anyone who wishes to pursue a career in regulatory affairs. 25
Dutch student, graduated in Food Safety in 2013 My name is Nicky de Wildt. Iâ€&#x;m 24 years old and I live in a tiny city called Arkel, in The Netherlands. I graduated from Wageningen University in June 2013. Iâ€&#x;m currently working as a consultant in food safety and quality. I have always been very interested in food, its methods of production, shelf life and the information on labels. During my search for a study, I came across Wageningen, Wageningen University and the BSc programme Food Technology. The programme is relatively unique and I really liked the application of a variety of different sciences (chemistry, physics and biology) in the development of food products. It is a very broad study and that attracted me a lot. I started my BSc study in September 2008. During this study I developed a preference for food safetyrelated courses such as microbiology. In addition I was interested in bringing safe and high quality products on the market, rather than new concepts. The choice for the MSc Food Safety program was therefore very easy. 26
At the time I started the MSc programme, it was not possible to „I was convinced that a thesis at
choose a specialisation within the programme. The first year was set,
this group would bring me a lot,
I followed mainly obligatory courses. One of these courses was Food
both in personal development
Law from the Law and Governance group. This course was actually
and in development of skills.“
my first contact with food safety regulation. Before then, I followed courses for instance on the growth of a pathogen within a specific
type of food. During the Food Law course the focus was on the structure and content of food law in the European Union, including specific topics like labelling. I had to read and understand regulations and directives. This requires a different way of thinking than I was used to, which was, honestly, quite a challenge for me. Especially analysing cases and formulating reasoning was challenging, but on the other hand also quite interesting. I can say I have learnt a lot during this course. Food Law is the only course from the Law and Governance group I have followed, because there was no possibility for others within the MSc program, at the time. The second year of the MSc programme consisted of a thesis and an internship. I started with my thesis at the Law and Governance Group for two main reasons. First of all, the topic of my thesis really attracted me. In addition I was convinced that a thesis at this group would bring me a lot, both in personal development and in development of skills. During my thesis I focused on the communication during the 2011 EHEC outbreak. The basis of my research was an article from the General Food Law. The article describes the need for public communication of food safety issues. I wanted to know to what extent the law was implemented and where improvements could be made in case of future issues. The title of my thesis was: “Improving public 27
communication in case of food safety issues – lessons from the 2011 EHEC outbreak”. As a start I wanted to identify how different stakeholders dealt with the outbreak. This sounds quite easy, but was actually quite challenging in itself. The reason for my troubles was the unwillingness of certain authorities to cooperate in my research, despite my persistence. It even came to a point where I had to invoke law to get even the slightest bit of information. I can say that it was quite an educational experience. Conclusions of the research can be called unexpected and interesting. Next to the outcome of the research, the supervision made this feel like a success. I got a lot of freedom in designing and performing my research, making it my „own” research. In addition, discussions with my supervisor made me think and create more depth in the research. After my thesis I started my internship. I had deliberately chosen to undertake my internship at a consultancy rather than a research institution. That was mainly because of the fact that, at that moment, I had no business experience. I came into contact with a consultancy which was able to give me the chance to gain a lot of practical experience. During my internship my main assignment was to translate legislation into practice: “what does A mean exactly and what measures do I have to take to comply to B?” I focussed on nutrition and health claims (the “claims regulation”). The claims regulation is a very interesting regulation, partly because it provides room for national and own interpretation. In June I finished my internship and the consultancy where I undertook my thesis, hired me as a consultant in the area food quality and safety. During my work as a consultant, I support clients in setting up, maintaining and improving quality systems. In some cases the system is merely based on legislation, for instance a HACCP system. From an internship to a consultant job by Nicky de Wildt
However, nowadays customers demand additional private standards like IFS or BRC. I support clients in understanding and meeting the exact set requirements. I perform my current job with pleasure and I feel like the experience I have gained and the skills I have developed during the Food Law course and during my thesis and internship are essential in succeeding in this job. I would definitely recommend the education of the Law and Governance group to others; especially the thesis has been valuable to me.
Dutch, obtained his PhD degree in 2013 at the Law and Governance group In 2004 I had the opportunity to do an internship at the
University. I was planning to do a master thesis on human rights to earn my master degree in law at Tilburg University. Since I was raised in a true teachers` family and earned my didactic endorsement in my music studies, the choice to do an internship as a (very junior) lecturer in Wageningen may not be a big surprise. Under the â€žwingsâ€œ of Professor Bernd van der Meulen, I started to lecture in the field of food law and human rights. After graduating, I started to look for jobs as a teacher in law. Prof. van der Meulen handing in the PhD diploma to Bart Wernaart
Since 2007 I work for Fontys University of Applied
Sciences. Currently I am a member of the Fontys IBMS (International Business and Management Studies) staff. I am involved in teaching subjects in the field of international law and business ethics. During my work at Fontys, I did an external PhD trajectory, again under the excellent supervision of prof. Van der 30
Meulen, in Wageningen. This means that I wrote my PhD-thesis during
weekends, nights, and holidays. In 2013 I successfully defended my PhD-thesis, a book entitled: „The human right to adequate food, a comparative study‟. In the book, I addressed the issue of the enforceability of economic, social and cultural rights in
“For me, the Law and Governance group has always been a wonderful collection of strong individuals that offer high quality education in a very exciting branch of legal studies.”
industrialized states, using comparative law methods. This defence embarked the end of an intense period in which I travelled back and forth to Wageningen to meet my promotor, and occasionally served as a guest-lecturer on issues that relate to human rights and comparative law methodology. For me, the Law and Governance group has always been a wonderful collection of strong individuals who offer high quality education in a very exciting branch of legal studies. I always feel very welcomed in their midst, and consider myself a friend of the group. For my career, the internship and PhD-study have been essential to become the kind of professional I am today. It enabled me to combine my passions in education and law. Currently, I am writing a book on business ethics, and a book on international law, using the methodology I developed during my PhD-research. Furthermore, I am privileged to teach a variety of students in both HBO (applied sciences) and WO (sciences) curricula, and enjoy their hunger and enthusiasm to learn. Next to that, I also have a career in music, and work as a performer (drums, mallets), composer and conductor.
Macedonian, graduated in the Master program Food Safety in 2013 After graduating in food technology and working as a consultant in the implementation of food safety systems, I got heavily intrigued with food safety since it brings together food and public health. Led by this interest, an obvious choice was the best program in the field in Europe, the MSc Food Safety program at Wageningen University. The program at the time didnâ€&#x;t have any specializations. My personal view is that this situation left me with a useful time period during the first year of courses to discover which areas of food safety attract me the most. Picture taken during the visit of the European Parliament
In November 2010, I followed the first lectures of the Food Law course at Wageningen University. The food law course was an all-round course in
line with the high quality of the other courses. It was supported with an excellent reading material, the European Food Law Handbook. I say excellent because it presented a critical opinion next to the interpretation of the law provisions. My personal impression was that reading the handbook and following the course, took us on a very systematically planned journey, departing with the basics of law, exploring the landscapes of EU food law and arriving at the outer border of international law and private standards. 32
My expectation was that the course was supposed to offer a „The
tutorials impressed me and I couldn`t
response of every assignment I worked on and attend the next week session.“
variety of topics in food law to make students with mostly technical background (at the time) aware of the legal rules that govern the field of food. However the course superseded the expected remits due to the skills of legal analysis that we acquired. We practiced these skills in the tutorials, while working
evaluation of the assignments. The style of work in the tutorials impressed me and I couldn`t wait to hear the
feedback of every assignment I worked on and also attend the next session. Inspired by the academic dimension of the discipline food law, I wrote my thesis with the Law and Governance group. General Food Law or the Regulation 178/2002 is an essential piece of law which safeguards consumer„s interest and public health. Its provisions on emergency and crisis have been my field of interest because of the width of the power of the former and the character of the latter. Even more, writing the thesis during the E. coli outbreak in Germany, emerged as an opportunity to analyse this event through the prism of the selected law provisions. My analysis of the E. coli outbreak together with the analysis of a fellow student Pablo Belmar von Kretschmann who looked at the outbreak from another perspective, have both served as inputs for a joint article with our supervisors: prof. Bernd van der Meulen and Anna Szajkowska. Just afterwards, in the appraisal of the ten years anniversary of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), I have co-authored with prof. Bernd van der Meulen a chapter in a book devoted in this jubilee. Interestingly enough, months after my thesis, there was an article 33
published by a distinguished scholar which had quite some similar conclusions with my thesis. Same line of thinking or perhaps he has forgotten to reference to a student`s work? Thanks to prof. Bernd van der Meulen, during my studies I got several chances to lecture in incident management to master students, which was a splendid experience. While writing my thesis, I got the opportunity to join an excursion to the EU institutions in Brussels. Visiting the European Parliament and several food related associations was very informative, but I was especially impressed by the opportunity to interact with officials working at the European Commission. â€žWalkingâ€œ on the border of science and law, during my internship I have pursued a regulatory project on my own initiative. My genuine interest met with the needs of the company and for the last part of my internship I worked simultaneously on a food microbiology project and a regulatory affairs project in a biotechnology company for food ingredients - Purac (now Corbion). For the company it proved to be useful to have a student aware of the legal requirements that the client needs to comply with, such that when it is involved in business to business relations the company can target its marketing activities accordingly. Specifically, I have looked at the differences between EU and US food law in the field of nutrition and complemented it with a market analysis of the actual implementation of those regulations. Although comparative food law was not part of my program, as part of the Food Law course I already had some exposure to US food law during a blogging assignment with students from the US. The knowledge and skills acquired in the period of pursuing my Master degree are applicable in the domain of consultancy, the field I am currently engaged in. Legislation in my home country, being an EU candidate, is harmonized to the EU legislation and that enables me to quickly identify and interpret the Consultancy and academia by Rozita Spirovska Vaskoska
relevant laws. Also, I keep a pertinent interest in developments in the field and occasionally discuss food law topics with students of nutrition whom I lecture on a temporary basis in the local university in Bitola, Macedonia. When I think of the food law experience in Wageningen, it brings me feelings of appreciation, admiration, gratitude and outlook for future projects together. Just recently, I had the honour to work and author parts of the new edition of the EU Food Law Handbook. These days, while holding this book in my hands, I can`t believe that I am part of the book that four years ago made me fall for food law.
Greek student, graduated in the Master program Food Safety from 2010-2012 My name is Ioanna Bousoula and I was born in the fragrant island of Chios, Greece. In 2004, I moved to the capital, in order to study Biotechnology at the Agricultural University of Athens. As soon as I had completed my studies in Greece, I was accepted at Wageningen University to pursue a masterâ€&#x;s degree in the field of Food Safety. The truth is that coming from a scientific background and having spent hundreds of hours in the lab, food law was an immense challenge for me. Nevertheless, during the Food Law course I realized that this modern and unexplored area surprised me positively. This was mainly because of the potential practical application in the broad food sector, from farm to fork. Substantially, this particular course and the method of its instruction motivated me to carry out my thesis and internship in the Law and Governance Group. It is worth mentioning that due to the content of the Food Law course, I had participated in the International and Comparative Food Law course as well, (a course that was not a regular part of the Master program Food Safety at the time), in the second year of my studies.
Both of my master thesis and internship were conducted in collaboration with the Law and Governance group, as well as, FeyeCon D&I BV, a pioneer in supercritical carbon dioxide 3 (scCO2) applications. Particularly, my thesis title was „Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Food Law: A Comparative Analysis between the EU & the US for Novel Applications", and concerned drawing the union and transatlantic regulatory framework of three applications of scCO2 technology in food processing. My internship project was entitled “Marine Microalgae: The Green, Sustainable, Vegetarian Alternative? EU & US Regulation of Algae Oil”. The core of this study was the investigation of the EU-US regulatory framework on algae oil derived from Schizochytrium sp. for food and food supplement products, intellectual property research and application of hygiene law. The Novel Food Regulation [Regulation (EC) 258/97] formed the heart of both my thesis and internship projects. My experience as a researcher in the Law and Governance group was the most memorable during my entire master studies in the Netherlands. The teaching is modern, and considering that students usually originate from scientific backgrounds, the members of the group are really approachable and eager to assist students to understand in depth the legislation scope and wording. Furthermore, the transfer of knowledge in students‟ minds becomes even more successful via the pragmatic cases which are provided for
“The way of teaching is modern, and considering that students usually originate from scientific backgrounds, the members of the group are really approachable and eager to help them to understand in depth the legislation scope and wording.”
analysis in the practical parts of the courses. Personally, my 3
Supercritical CO2 is a fluid state of CO2, where it is held at or above its critical temperature and pressure (31 °C, 72.83 atm), possessing a unique combination of gas-like viscosity and liquid-like density, and thus permitting processing at ambient conditions.
decision to specialize in food law has exceeded my expectations, since it was the initial sparkle for my subsequent career. In fact, I am more than satisfied with the academic level of the group members, the theoretical basis, and the valuable and transferable skill set that is provided in this fast-paced sector. After graduating from Wageningen University, I had undertaken a position as a Regulatory Affairs and Quality Manager, in FeyeCon D&I BV. During that placement, I was involved in the research, writing and completion of regulatory dossiers, in accordance with the EU and US food law, in order to launch innovative food products and supplements into the markets, for human and animal use. Additionally, I was assigned the responsibility to implement food hygiene standards in the company, and I was also responsible for the communication with the national food safety authority (NVWA), the European Commission and the US Food and Drug Administration. Today, at this stage of my career, I have founded LimEat Consulting, a food law consultancy firm, based in Greece, the crossroad between the Western and the Asian market. Precisely, I am mostly occupied with offering international food regulation advice, the implementation of hygiene standards and the consultation on intellectual property matters for the food industry. Being a consultant affords me the unique opportunity and challenge to be involved in projects for a vast array of food products by utilizing different international pieces of legislation, and to interact with people from multiple cultures in different positions in the industry and in the authorities as well. Hence, taking into consideration the above, food law has influenced my career in a quotidian manner, since it constitutes the basis of my occupation and my services to clients. Its application spectrum starts in the primary production and ends up to the consumerâ€&#x;s plate, and with the perpetually newly launched regulation pieces I never get bored!
Own consultancy by Ioanna Bousoula
I definitely recommend for the current and future students to form an integral part of the Law and Governance group during their stay in Wageningen University. As a matter of fact, it has defined my existence in the professional world, and I remain confident that it will lead to the opening of new doors for me, in order to broaden my horizons in my future career path.
Polish, obtained her PhD degree in food law in 2012 I first came to Wageningen from Warsaw as an Erasmus student ten years ago, in February 2004. The Food Law course had just been established and taught for the first time. I missed it, unfortunately: students just took exams. But, luckily, I had an opportunity to join an individual course organized for a student from Utrecht. We would meet once a week to discuss international and EU law related to foodstuffs. Exciting! When I was opening the Food Law reader for the first time, I did not know that, as a consequence, ten years later, while writing this text, I would still see the green and blue neon lights of Wageningen University from my window. Instead of the initially planned couple of months, I have stayed in Wageningen for many years. I did my PhD studies in the field of food law, taught food law, worked at Wageningen University on a number of food law related projects. And now, although I work in Brussels, I still come to Wageningen to give guest lectures and to visit my former colleagues and friends. 40
Food law is fascinating in so many ways. In particular, it extracts the essence of EU law: internal market and free movement of goods can be lectured exclusively based on the examples related to foodstuffs. Food regulation is also truly multilevel: the World Trade Organization‟s Agreement on
„Teaching, especially food law tutorials, and supervising MSc theses gave me the opportunity to confront my ideas with cohorts of eager food law students from all over the world.“
Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures has a major impact on national regulation. Finally, this regulatory regime heavily depends on scientific risk assessment. Everything judged unsafe by science cannot be placed on the market, thus falls under the exceptional category of res extra commercium (things outside commerce), together with, e.g., weapons, human body parts or illegal drugs. The choice of the topic of my PhD – the principle of risk analysis in EU food law – was an obvious consequence of these scientific interests. During my PhD I had much freedom in conducting my research. I also attended many conferences and spent time abroad as a visiting researcher. Teaching, especially food law tutorials, and supervising MSc theses gave me the opportunity to confront my ideas with cohorts of eager food law students from all over the world. I still stay in touch with many of them and follow their careers in government, academia, private companies, and international organizations. Although I was sure my career would be devoted to food law, after the PhD defence my life took a different turn. I accepted a position in the European Commission and I currently work in the Directorate General for the Environment. Environmental law, as an area of risk regulation, bears many similarities with food law, e.g. both are based on the precautionary principle. Both also depend on scientific and
technical assessments. The knowledge gained during my studies is very helpful. In the meantime, I also try to keep up with developments in the area of food law and publish in this field. A quick look at the shelves of any shop will confirm the obvious: food is one of the most traded commodities in the world. The modern food chain has been lengthened. The relation between the producer and the consumer has become abstract and anonymous. Government regulation has to fill in the information gap created by this distance. Consumers, not being able to evaluate risks themselves, depend on the regulatory intervention to protect their health and they have to trust that the government is able to do that. Therefore, food law expertise is necessary at all stages of the food chain, be it a private company, governmental body or scientific institution. I definitely recommend studying food law!
The first PhD in food law by Anna Szajkowska
Mexican, graduated in Food Safety in 2009 My name is JosĂŠ Javier Ocampo Beltran. I come from a small town in Mexico. I currently work at the WTO as a Trade Policy Analyst in the Agriculture and Commodities Division. Since high school my studies have focused on the agricultural sector. I hold a BA in International Trade of Agricultural Products. In 2007, I started the MSc in Food Safety at Wageningen University. The MSc appealed to me as it combines both social and life sciences. It has the correct mix of technical studies, such as microbiology and toxicology, and social studies such as food law and food safety management. When issues require collaboration between scientists and politicians, which in food safety management and risk communication is often the case, there has always been a certain degree of dissociation between the work of scientists and that of policy makers. Although they both pursue the same objective, they see the world through a different lens, and things tend to get "lost in translation". I found the MSc in Food Safety to be an important tool in equipping people who can bring together both of these worlds to coexist in a synergistic manner.
Thanks to the Law and Governance group, and more specifically “The Law and Governance group and its food law staff were very supportive throughout the course, and even after, by being the key in opening the doors to various international organizations.”
to Professor Bernd van der Meulen, I was accepted for a 6 months internship at the Food Safety Department of the WHO in Geneva, Switzerland. This was the beginning of what would become my career in the world of international organizations. At the WHO, I had the opportunity to be closely involved in the monitoring, research and consultative process concerning the melamine incident in China, which had international ramifications both in terms of public health and international trade. My internship at
the WHO allowed me to experience at first-hand, aspects related to risk management and risk communication, and the importance of coordination among the various stakeholders involved in a food safety crisis. My master's thesis analysed the role of risk assessors and risk managers in the creation of international standards by the Codex Alimentarius. I undertook part of my thesis project at one of the parent organizations of Codex, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) at its Food Safety Department, in Rome, Italy. While at the FAO, I had the opportunity to take part in the work performed by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Meetings on Microbiological Risk Assessment for the development of the microbiological risk assessment for Salmonella and Campylobacter in chicken. I specifically worked on the compilation and summary of the available risk assessments, and risk mitigation activities. The MSc in Food Safety and my internships at international organizations in the area of food safety paved the way to what is now my job at the WTO. Soon after I graduated from the MSc in Food Safety, I got an In the world of international organizations by José Javier Ocampo Beltran
internship at the WTO to work on issues related to the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and
internship would later become a regular job. The food law courses, together with the microbiology and toxicology courses, have made it easier for me
reports readable to non-scientific experts, which has been a big plus in the day to day work at the WTO. I have been working at the WTO for nearly four years now. I can honestly say that I owe a big part of this to Wageningen University; the MSc in Food Safety and its internship program, which allows for students' exposure to the job market; and the Law and Governance group and its food law staff who were very supportive throughout Photo by Katharina Geiss
the course, and even after, by being the key in opening
Malaysian student, graduated in Food Safety in 2009 My name is Edmund Teoh from Malaysia and I graduated from the MSc Food Safety program at Wageningen University in 2009. As part of the MSc program, I took several courses organized by the Law and Governance group including Food Law and Comparative Food Law, under the instruction of Prof. Bernd van der Meulen and Prof. Menno Van Der Velde. I also completed my thesis with the Law and Governance group, where I focused on the topic of â€œHalal Food Regulationâ€?. With the encouragement and supervision of Prof. van der Meulen, I further undertook my internship with the Food Safety and Zoonoses Department at the World Health Organization, where I assisted the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) in managing food safety incidents that may have a global impact. Currently, I am Senior Manager, Scientific Programs, at the Southeast Asian branch of the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) based in Singapore, where I am responsible for managing food safety-related projects that support the development of technical infrastructure and scientific capabilities among countries belonging to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), such as in conducting food safety risk assessment.
As a student in Wageningen, I greatly enjoyed learning about the „I remember very fondly the intellectually stimulating environment at the Law and Governance Group while I was undertaking my thesis research, where I was given the freedom to explore the topic of my choice...“
principles and concepts related to food law and to this day I am still actively utilizing this knowledge and learning more about it as part of my job. In particular, I remember very fondly the intellectually stimulating environment at the Law and Governance Group while I was undertaking my thesis research, where I was given the freedom to explore the topic of my choice i.e. “Halal Food Regulation”. I was constantly challenged to gain a deeper
understanding of some of the underlying legal concepts and principles that govern this area of food law, which relate to both public and private food law, as well as Islamic religious law. For my current job, I need to be aware of food law developments in the ASEAN region, as they could potentially have an impact on scientific and technical requirements of the countries that we are supporting. The 10 ASEAN countries are currently in the process of regional integration and will establish the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015. In view of this, food safety authorities from all of the ASEAN Member States have come together through various technical working groups to put together the relevant infrastructure to facilitate this integration process that is through harmonization of food safety standards and regulations. In this regard, ASEAN food safety authorities have chosen to use scientific risk assessment as the basis for harmonization of food safety standards, which is something outlined in regional trade agreements such as the ASEAN Trade In Goods Agreement (ATIGA), and is also consistent with the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement of the WTO. Having been trained in food law, I find that I am able to better understand how science can play its most effective role in contributing to this on47
going process within ASEAN and thus I am able to focus on developing the most appropriate programs to provide the necessary support. Outside of my work, I have continued to keep a strong personal interest and passion to learn more about food law, particularly about the food laws of the different countries of Southeast Asia. Among the things I discovered is that food law has already existed in Southeast Asia as early as 1914! This was the Sale of Food and Drugs Ordinance that was enacted in the British Straits Settlement that consisted of Penang, Malacca and Singapore, which are now part of Malaysia and Singapore respectively. Food law is now a gradually developing field at the regional level, particularly with the onset of the AEC in 2015. It is my hope that in another 5 to 10 years, the study of food law in Southeast Asia will become something that is as important and commonplace as it is now in Europe. I certainly look forward to contributing to the study of food law in Southeast Asia and I believe my training at the Law and Governance group has helped to prepare me very well to do so.
Photo by Katharina Geiss
Career in scientific project management by Edmund Teoh
Dutch, graduated 2007 in Animal Science, wrote a thesis in food law My name is Sophie van der Ploeg and I was born and raised in the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam. Now I live in a village 30 kilometres at the north of Amsterdam with my husband and two daughters. In 2007 I graduated from Wageningen University in Animal Science and because of my personal interest in law, I took some classes in the Law and Governance group. In 2003 I participated in several courses: Law, Policy and Governance; International Policies and Institutions; and Law and Governance (Sustainable Development Law). In the end I wrote a thesis about European law “concerning” cows. The courses at that time were full of room for discussion, something quite different from the courses that I took in Animal Science. Those courses were actually pure information transfer, without any room for discussion because it was all about (biological) facts. In the beginning I was surprised at this different way of teaching and the abstract level. Courses about biological subjects can be checked in the laboratory or in an animal. Law is complex at a different level, and you can‟t see or touch it.
My thesis gives an overview of all existing legislation concerning cows at European level. This assignment gave me an insight in the structure of European law, the amount of legislation on different subjects, e.g. animal welfare at the different production stages, transport, slaughter, the regulation of the housing of cattle, and the implication of legislation at European level on national legislation. I would surely recommend these courses, because they widen your view on your main science field. As I said before, I have done my major in Animal Science and the courses in law gave me more insight in the mechanisms at European level. All farmers (and actually all citizens) of EU member states are confronted with EU legislation, but not everybody is aware of the way the structure
„In the 7 years after my graduation I have gradually become more involved with food law from an indirect way to a more direct way.“
works. This ignorance leads sometimes to anger or uncertainty. Because of my interest in law, I worked at the Product Board for Meat, Livestock and Eggs for several years. This organisation is situated between the farmers and the government. They had a special place in the system, because they are the only organisation that can make national legislation for a specific group of entrepreneur. The organisation was managed by leaders of the entrepreneurs. During those years I worked on national legislation for breeding organisations in cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and horses. Next to that I also cooperated in a project of an intern to set up a checklist of making legislation. The aim of the checklist is to decide in advance if legislation is the best way to achieve the goal that is in the mind of the policymaker. Those days I wasn‟t directly involved with food law, but indirectly I worked at the front side of food law: as a policymaker I try to keep animals healthy so they, and their products, meet the standards of food law.
Food law in policy making by Sophie van der Ploeg
Since March 2014, Iâ€&#x;m working on the national plan on Salmonella in poultry at the NVWA (Nederlandse Voedsel- en Waren Autoriteit). The European Commission has set national goals on the prevalence of Salmonella. For each part of the production chain (breeding, laying hens, broilers and turkey) there is a goal set. Through a monitoring system by the farmer as well as the competent authority Salmonella is detected on the poultry farms. When the bacterium is identified, a confirmation is done. Depending on the production chain, measures are taken. Meat and eggs can be consumed after the products are heated. So eggs are only allowed in industrial processing which includes heating, the animals are slaughtered at the end of the day and meat is cooked before further processing. Poultry that has been tested negative for Salmonella during the production period can somehow became contaminated. Therefore from each batch in the slaughterhouse several samples are taken and analysed. In this way the health of the consumer is guaranteed. So, in the 7 years after my graduation I have gradually become more involved with food law from an indirect way to a more direct way. Who knows what will happen in the next ten years!
Italian, graduated in the Master program Food Safety in 2008 My name is Giorgio Schiavon, I‟m 32 years old and I come from Italy. In the years 2006 -2007 I attended the Wageningen University`s MSc in Food Safety. I had Food Law in the first year of MSc as an obligatory class. The subject thrilled me to the extent that by the end of the class I had decided to “specialize” in this sector. Being Italian, most of times, means to have a particular attitude towards food and I am no exception. In those years I had a keen interest on the Slow Food project and I knew of the small dairy premises scattered through the Alps. I approached Prof. Van der Meulen and I exposed my idea of thesis: to find out whether EU food law was enforced the same way through small dairy premises in the Italian Alps. Prof. Van der Meulen immediately liked my idea and I had a project to work on. The field work of the thesis consisted of visiting small dairies in the Alps and running a questionnaire. This was an unforgettable experience for the cultural and natural environment I was in, as well as for the findings that were used also in further publications.
As an intern I worked with an SME lobby group in Brussels, named
„Law is useful every day in business! “
UEAPME. There I supported the food advisor in activities such as preparing own position on draft (food) regulations and occasionally participated in the Commission`s technical meetings.
Overall, I can say I spent the largest part of my MSc in matters related to the Law and Governance group without having a previous background in law. Before and after my thesis field work, I‟ve spent an enormous amount of time in studying EU regulations, directives, guidelines and Italian specific normatives. I remember the satisfaction I had every time I could gap an unclear passage of the normative and when I could understand the intrinsic relations between different pieces of laws. I took the Food Safety MSc program because I liked food-related disciplines and microbiology but I found out, on the way, that laboratory works were not for me: too much pipetting. No regrets so far! Did food law impact my work life? It did. I am in a food business and more specifically in the purchasing area right after graduation from Wageningen University. As the food science has been helpful to understand (food) products and processes, the food law background has been a valuable asset, especially at the beginning, to understand trade agreements. Doubts about the closing of an agreement most of the times depend over the implicit obligations in it. The experience I‟ve earned within the Law and Governance group gave me not just the competences to address technical food law aspects but also a toolkit to reach further understandings on broader law-related aspects. Law is useful every day in business! From my point of view, an experience within the Law and Governance group is advisable to all students who enjoy science, but not that much its applications, like myself. 53
Dutch, followed the food law course at its launch in 2004, graduated in 2008 A mixture of surprise – has it been 10 years already? – and reassurance – still going strong! – came over me when I read the news of the upcoming jubilee.
I also realised that my enrolment in
Wageningen University in 2004 coincided with the official start of Food Law in Wageningen. Of course “start” needs some nuance. When, in 2003, Prof. Bernd van der Meulen made his inaugural address, The Right to Adequate Food, as newly appointed professor for the Law and Governance chair one could already have guessed food law would be put prominently on the Wageningen agenda. As
progressively, the web of rules becomes more intricate and jurisprudence pertaining food affects increasingly other areas of law. It is becoming more and more obvious that 'food law' is a branch of law on its own. This is recognized by both academia and legal professionals alike. From a European and international perspective, the term- 'food law' seems a very obvious and colloquial term to use. Many EU Member States have dedicated departments or dedicated law and regulatory websites pertaining food law. 54
In that line of reasoning it also makes sense that a university, positioning itself internationally as the „Life Sciences University‟, devotes a part of its attention to food law. Moreover, its long standing tradition of supporting international development could now be applied to the home front as well. That is, in a way one could characterize the Netherlands as a developing country on the topic of food law as an independent and mature functional area of law. The Dutch have the Commodities Act – the Warenwet, of which food is merely a part. Food still is “sharing legal attention” with commodities like 'elevators' and 'pressure vessels'. Moreover, where the EU and several other Member States have one ministry or a dedicated department for food law or consumer and health protection, Dutch food law is governed by both the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Economic Affairs (Agriculture Department). In addition, the professional scene is still characterized by food engineers. Legal professionals (e.g. lawyers) specialized in food law are still a minority. In 2004, food law in Wageningen had its working field laid out, internationally but also right on its doorstep. An example of this effort – which was one of many ''yes-I-made-the-right-choice-enrolling-for-Food-Lawmoments” – was the 'levensmiddelen'-discussion during a meeting of the Dutch Food Law Association, I attended as a student assisting Prof. Van der Meulen, in 2005. In the Netherlands, the term 'levensmiddelen' (the Dutch word for 'food', as defined by Article 2 General Food Law) was a somewhat strange term. For many years the Dutch were used to the term 'eet- en drinkwaren'. I distinctly remember Prof. Van der Meulen pointing out this fundamental difference between the General Food Law and the Warenwet.
Not long after this discussion a Decree was published 4 . The aim of this Decree was (1) changing the Warenwet on the issue of temporary appointing non-government officials (i.e. private organizations) for enforcement and (2) repealing the Meat Quality Control Decree. In a little note it also introduced 'sub b' of paragraph 1 of Article 1 of the Warenwet, stating that hence 'eet- en drinkwaren' should be interpreted as 'levensmiddelen' as defined by Article 2 of the General Food Law. Although a small underexposed change, it was – and still is – not only interesting on an academic level but also great fun to witness food law in action. I reckon that is what Prof. Van der Meulen, and the staff of the Law and Governance group, have taught me the most. Law and food law in particular, is not a static collection of words on paper in dusty books. Law is a science, and when applied diligently, you're able to interpret, explain and animate these static words and you even can transform them. My name is Jeroen Manders. I enrolled at Wageningen in 2004 and graduated in 2008. Before graduating, I was hired by Sara Lee/Douwe Egberts as a Food Legal Consultant. After that, I filled the position of Staff Employee Infant Feeding (PARNUTS) for the Netherlands Dairy Authority (COKZ). Currently I'm working for H.J. Heinz as a European Regulatory Affairs Officer.
Wet van 1 december 2005 tot wijziging van de Warenwet om een tijdelijke mogelijkheid te creëren om private toezichthouders aan te wijzen, alsmede tot intrekking van de Vleeskeuringswet; link
Food law in action by Jeroen Manders
TIMELINE OF FOOD LAW AT WAGENINGEN UNIVERSITY
2003: The Right to Adequate Food. Food Law between the Market and Human Rights
2011: Chinese Law on Food and Agriculture (course)
2011: Lex Michiels Prijs: Award of the Dutch Administrative Law Association for innovative achievements in a special field of administrative law
2004: Master program Food Safety
2010: Intellectual Property Rights (course)
2012: PhD Anna Szajkowska
2004: Food Law (course)
2010: Food, Nutrition and Human Rights (course)
2012: MSc specialisation Food Safety Law (programme)
2014: First graduates of MSc Food Safety Law
2004: Food Safety Law in the European Union: An introduction published
2009: Food Law Academy: Summer School Food Regulatory Affairs (post academic programme)
2012: Food Law, Management and Economics (course)
2014: EU Food Law Handbook published
2008: European Food Law Handbook published
2009: Comparative Food Law (course), since 2013 called: International and American Food Law
2013: PhD Bart Wernaart
2014: Winter Food Law school organized for a first time