LAWENVIR 719 - Special Topic: Food Law

Lecturer biography

Anastasia Telesetsky is a senior lecturer at The University of Auckland. Her practice focused on public international law and environmental law. She had the distinction of representing the Government of Ethiopia before the Ethiopia-Eritrea Claims Commission at the Permanent Court of Arbitration. In 2003 and 2004, she was a Bosch Fellow in Germany where she worked for the German Foreign Ministry on promoting international food security and assisted in drafting guidelines on implementation for the “Right to Food”. As a Fulbright Fellow and a Berkeley Human Rights Center fellow, she collaborated with communities in the Philippines and Papua New Guinea on developing culturally appropriate legal solutions to environmental protection problems. In addition to bachelors and masters degrees in Anthropology, Professor Telesetsky earned her law degree from the University of California-Berkeley (Boalt Hall) and an LLM in International Law from the University of British Columbia. She practiced as a lawyer in Seattle, Washington and San Francisco, California. Her research focuses on the area of fisheries governance and she has published several chapters and journal articles on this topic. She is a member of the International Union of Conservation’s World Commission on Environmental Law.

Course outline

Achieving food security for a growing population is a priority of most States. There are growing pressures on the food systems including notably climate change and severe weather. This course takes an eclectic approach to examining a selection of legal questions involving food production, distribution, and consumption. Over the course of the semester through lectures, discussions and student presentations, we will be exploring the concepts of food security, the right to food, trade in food commodities, food safety, food labelling, animal rights, supply chains and sustainable food production. The class will include both international and domestic perspectives and will cover a diverse set of statutes, cases and policies.


Class One: Food Law
Issues for discussion: What is food law? Cultural Heritage of Food

Class Two: Food and Human Rights
Issues for discussion: Food and Human Rights/What is the “right to food”?, Labour issues involved in food production.

Class Three: Food and Trade
Issues for discussion: Globalised commodities, relationship between trade law and food security

Class Four: Food and Safety
Issues for discussion: International principles for food process and food supply safety, food control systems, risk analysis, traceability, genetically modified foods

Class Five: Food Labelling
Issues for discussion: Labelling for nutrition, labelling for social/environmental reasons

Class Six: Food Supply Chains - Fish and Law (Part One)
Issues for discussion: Fisheries governance, illegal/unreported/unregulated fishing (IUU fishing), bycatch and discard issues, perverse subsidies, traceability issues

Class Seven: Food Supply Chains - Fish and Law (Part Two)
Issues for discussion: Marine Stewardship Council Certification and Fisheries Improvement Projects

Class Eight: Food Supply Chains - Fish and Law (Part Three)
Issues for discussion: Aquaculture

Class Nine: Food Supply Chain - Livestock and Law
Issues for discussion: Animal rights, animal welfare, environmental and health implications of livestock production

Class Ten: Food Supply Chain - Indulgencies - Chocolate, Coffee, Wine
Issues for discussion: Fair trade, geographical indications

Class Eleven: Sustainable Agriculture and Sustainable Food Use
Issues for discussion: Monocultures, small-scale agriculture, soil management, urban agriculture,  agro-ecology, reducing food waste

Class Twelve: Student Presentations

Learning outcomes

The chief objective of the course is to provide students with an introduction to a range of contemporary issues that are relevant to food law and policy as issues involving food security becoming increasingly complex.

On completion of this course students should be able to:

  • Understand why food is a significant subject for regulation and governance
  • Understand how trade law informs aspects of global food systems
  • Understand the intersection between food and human rights law
  • Understand the interactions between and food production and labour/environmental laws
  • Identify how New Zealand and other States legislatively manage food production and distribution
  • Offer analysis on critical debates involving food and the law


Each student is required to submit a research essay of no more than 12,500 words. The essay is to be the original work of the student, relying on secondary and primary sources and including proper citation in footnotes.

  • Final paper due 12pm, Friday 1st June 2018

Each student is also expected to provide a minimum one-page peer review of a colleague’s draft paper and to lead the class discussion after the instructor has concluded the weekly lecture.

Criteria and marking

  • Paper and Presentation - 80% of grade
  • Peer Review - 5% of grade
  • Class facilitation - 15% of grade

Grading Rubric for paper

  • 25% Literature review on the topic of your choosing (15 points)
  • 60% Clear analysis of your topic in the context of the literature (36 points)
  • 10% Creativity in approach to your topic and in reaching conclusions on the topic (6 points)
  • 5% Style (3 points)

Grading Rubric for presentation

  • 25% Demonstration of knowledge on topic (5 points)
  • 25% Educational value of the presentation to a group that is not an expert on your topic (5 points)
  • 25% Internal structure of presentation is well-organized (5 points)
  • 25% Quality use of visuals (5 points)

Grading Rubric for peer review

  • 50% Peer review comments reflect a careful read of the draft
  • 50% Peer review comments provided constructive feedback

Grading Rubric for Facilitation

  • 100% Student facilitator was prepared to lead a discussion on a given class theme

Course details

Semester: One (Full semester)
Points: 30
Times: Thursdays, 5-8pm
Venue: Building 810, Room 3.40
1-11 Short Street
Essay due date: 1 June 2018 - 12noon

Contact details

Law Student Centre
Level 2, 1-11 Short St