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Engaging with Controversies in the Food System

Engaging with Controversies in the Food System

Become more confident in making informed decisions about the food you eat by exploring different food controversies.

Consumers have never been confronted with so much food choice. Making a decision on what food to eat is affected by many factors, including media reports, diet research findings, and social media. On this course, participants will access leading research and expert insights to make sense of some of the most common food controversies:

  • Alternative proteins;
  • Palm oil; and
  • Probiotics.

Who should join the course

Anyone curious about what their food contains, and what this means for their health and the environment. Professionals in the food and environment sectors will find this course useful for providing an up to date analysis of topical debates.Teachers may also find this course a useful resource for their students studying food science subjects..


The course will have multiple runs in 2020 and 2021.  

Learning objectives and outcomes

Once completed, participants will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of three topical food controversies that affect human health, welfare and the environment;
  • Reflect on your own food preferences and make better informed decisions about which products to buy for yourself and your family;
  • Justify your choices and engage others, contributing to improvements in industry practice and an overall better understanding of the food system amongst consumers;
  • Interpret news reports, apply critical thinking and be proficient at analysing media coverage of food controversies;
  • Reflect on the perspectives of different stakeholders and recognise the myriad challenges and trade-offs such a complex system creates

How to join the course

This course is available on FutureLearn:

Press release


The following partners are involved in the project

University of Turin
University of Reading

Project Lead

Andrew Ainslie

University of Reading

Contact details

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