Posted on May 16, 2016
The study of food law provides an ideal opportunity for transdisciplinary research and can contribute to the achievement of the University of Pretoria's research frontiers strategy. In a seminar held to launch a new focus of the University's Institutional Research Theme (IRT) on Food, Nutrition and Well-being, Ms Anjanette Haller-Barker, lead researcher for this new research area, presented a theoretical framework for food law. Her framework brings together the various legal elements related to food (namely standards, regulations, legislation and policies) and food security-related issues of human rights, consumerism, consumer protection, trade, health and economic growth.
The enlightening seminar was hosted by Prof Andre Boraine, Dean of the Faculty of Law, and drew together lawyers and scientists from a range of disciplines and faculties. The discussion session illustrated how cooperation among branches of academic study that seldom interact can lead to powerful collaborative research in this innovative frontier.
Ms Haller-Barker, who is currently based in the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Well-being and is also associated with the Department of Public Law, provided an overview of the history of food legislation, its focus over periods in history, and recent international interest in food law as a concept that is broader than trade and consumer protection. She outlined the unique context of South Africa and the gaps in research, highlighting areas that the IRT could focus on. She stated: 'Our goal is to identify researchers working in these fields, to encourage collaborative research and to build the capacity of both staff and students in the study of food law. A greater understanding of the South African context will enable us to contribute to constructive legal development in this field.'
It was agreed at the launch that the next steps would be to establish a working group to identify the University of Pretoria's strategic niche area and to elaborate a strategy to develop this as a new focus area for research, postgraduate studies and the study programmes of various degrees.
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