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Food Ethics

The aim of the course is to help students improving their ethical skills, both in a general sense and in relation to food production and consumption. It is a web/distance course containing web lectures, but also lectures, seminars as well as group exercises IRT. There are also individual writing tasks. After an introduction to normative ethics we explore and apply it to ethical issues in the food chain, reflect on globalization and climate, the role of social context, culture and religion, on pro/con regarding use of GMO etc. Finally there is an individual assignment on a food ethics theme of your choice. Examination is based on seminar activity and written assignments.

Hi food ethics-students!

Food ethics is an important theme in today's society, and it is a pleasure to note the course is full, and also has a waiting list.

For some reason it is not classified as 'distance course' on the course page, but the course is held entirely online with meetings in real time (IRT). We will meet for lectures, seminars and you will also hold small-group discussions at fixed points of time according to schedule (please see prel. version on this site).

Please also note that since it is a full time course, one need to count on spending about 40 hrs per week with reading, IRT-meetings and writing.

Looking forwars to meeting you all!


Helena Röcklinsberg,

Associate professor in ethics

The course evaluation is not yet activated

The course evaluation is open between 2021-10-25 and 2021-11-15

Additional course evaluations for LV0115

Academic year 2021/2022

Food Ethics (LV0115-M1206) 2021-09-30 - 2021-11-01

Academic year 2020/2021

Food Ethics (LV0115-10276) 2020-09-30 - 2020-11-01

Academic year 2020/2021

Food Ethics (LV0115-10277) 2020-09-30 - 2020-11-01

Academic year 2020/2021

Food Ethics (LV0115-10278) 2020-09-30 - 2020-11-01

Academic year 2019/2020

Food Ethics (LV0115-10302) 2019-10-02 - 2019-10-31

Academic year 2019/2020

Food Ethics (LV0115-10303) 2019-10-02 - 2019-10-31

Academic year 2019/2020

Food Ethics (LV0115-10304) 2019-10-02 - 2019-10-31

LV0115 Food Ethics, 7.5 Credits


Syllabus approved



Animal science Food science

Education cycle

Master’s level


Title Credits Code
Lectures and seminars 5.00 1002
Individual written assignment 2.50 1003

Advanced study in the main field

Second cycle, only first-cycle courses as entry requirements(A1N)

Grading scale

5:Pass with Distinction, 4:Pass with Credit, 3:Pass, U:Fail The requirements for attaining different grades are described in the course assessment criteria which are contained in a supplement to the course syllabus. Current information on assessment criteria shall be made available at the start of the course.



Prior knowledge

Knowledge equivalent to 120 credits on basic level.


The aim of the course is that students, independent of previous competence, improve their ethical skills, both in a general sense and in relation to food issues. After completion of the course, the student shall be able to identify ethical issues in the food chain, to reflect upon them from different perspectives, and to show acquaintance with how to use standard normative ethical theories in ethical analysis of the food chain. Further, the aim of the course is to create opportunities for practicing ethical argumentation and deliberation with peers, both verbally and while producing shorter texts, in order to be able to argue for a certain position in accordance with basic argumentations rules such as consistency, coherence and relevance.

After completion of the course the student should be able to:
- Identify ethical issues in the food chain, including those related to e.g. food security, food safety, feed efficiency, biotechnology, sustainable development, food from animal origin.
- Describe some standpoints from the history of food ethics.
- Describe and use a number of normative ethical theories (e.g. utilitarianism, deontology, virtue ethics, and contractarianism) on issues within food production, distribution and consumption.
- Reflect on the role of social context, culture, religion and ethical norms in decisions regarding food.
- Explain and reflect on the interaction between ethics and science in relation to food issues.
- Formulate an ethical standpoint on a concrete problem of food ethics, discuss it through a pro and contra analysis and argue for it.


The content of the course is structured along the food chain – from production and distribution to consumption and waste. Ethically relevant aspects occurring along the food chain will be elaborated by use of the most common normative ethical theories to highlight ethical challenges and value clashes as for example between animal welfare and climate friendly production, or between biodiversity and economic efficiency, or consumer versus citizen interests. Students will further be asked to read food ethics literature to get a grip of the theoretical standpoints in order to learn detecting relevant ethical aspects and understand pro and contra arguments for different positions. Hence, ethical discernment is in focus, and students will practice ethical argumentation though active listening to one another’s opinions, formulate relevant questions and strive for a coherent line of argumentation in a certain issue. The structure of the course: Web lectures will be held to present the normative ethical theories and argumentation analysis. During on-line IRT-seminars on core themes in food ethics, some of which are chosen by the students, will be presented and discussed. These will be mandatory seminars for discussion of the different themes mentioned above, where active participation is required.

Formats and requirements for examination

Active participation in seminars. Short written assignments. Essay questions to be responded to within a certain time frame and limited number of words, distributed at end of course.
  • If the student fails a test, the examiner may give the student a supplementary assignment, provided this is possible and there is reason to do so.
  • If the student has been granted special educational support because of a disability, the examiner has the right to offer the student an adapted test, or provide an alternative assessment.
  • If changes are made to this course syllabus, or if the course is closed, SLU shall decide on transitional rules for examination of students admitted under this syllabus but who have not yet passed the course.
  • For the examination of a degree project (independent project), the examiner may also allow the student to add supplemental information after the deadline. For more information on this, please refer to the regulations for education at Bachelor's and Master's level.

Other information

  • The right to take part in teaching and/or supervision only applies to the course date to which the student has been admitted and registered on.
  • If there are special reasons, the student may take part in course components that require compulsory attendance at a later date. For more information on this, please refer to the regulations for education at Bachelor's and Master's level.

Responsible department

Department of Molecular Sciences
Cooperating departments:
Department of Animal Environment and Health

Further information

Determined by: Programnämnden för utbildning inom naturresurser och jordbruk (PN - NJ)
There are no Grading criteria posted for this course
1) Mandatory Literature - Food Ethics 2021
Comments: Here you will find the literature list for the course.

Course facts

The course is offered as an independent course: Yes The course is offered as a programme course: Agriculture Programme - Food Agriculture Programme - Food (270 hec) Sustainable Food Systems – Master´s Programme Tuition fee: Tuition fee only for non-EU/EEA/Switzerland citizens: 19027 SEK Cycle: Master’s level
Subject: Animal science Food science
Course code: LV0115 Application code: SLU-10206 Location: Independent courses Distance course: Yes Language: English Responsible department: Department of Molecular Sciences Pace: 100%