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Engaging with Controversies in the Food System

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

5,558 enrolled on this course

Engaging with Controversies in the Food System
The CPD Certification Service

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles. Find out more.

Learn how to assess the reliability of different sources of food information

Please note this course runs without facilitation

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, you’ll access leading research and expert insights to make sense of some of the most common food controversies - alternative proteins, palm oil, and probiotics.

You’ll understand the viewpoints of stakeholders and reflect on your own food preferences. By improving your knowledge of these food debates, you’ll build the confidence to make more informed decisions about food.

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Syllabus

  • Week 1

    Alternative proteins

    • Welcome to the course

      We start by defining the term 'controversy' and looking at examples we have come across in the media, before introducing the course and the team of educators.

    • Introducing alternative proteins

      The future of protein: is meat consumption on the verge of extinction?

    • Stakeholder perspectives

      Here we will look at the controversy from the varying perspectives of producers and consumers.

    • Analyse & Reflect

      In this section we will use what we've discovered to analyse a newspaper article and reflect on our response to the alternative proteins controversy.

  • Week 2

    Palm oil

    • Welcome

      Palm oil: an investigative task to get the conversation started and an overview of what the Week will cover.

    • Introducing palm oil

      Palm oil has been capturing headlines across the globe. What is it and why is it suddenly such a big issue?

    • Stakeholder perspectives

      A look at the controversy from a range of stakeholder perspectives.

    • Analyse and reflect

      In this section we'll analyse a position statement from WWF and reflect on the what, if any action, we might take as a result of what we've discovered.

  • Week 3

    Probiotics

    • Welcome

      Probiotics: a discussion question to get the conversation started and an overview of what the Week will cover.

    • Introducing probiotics

      There are many terms that get used to describe food that is good for our gut health. Here we define probiotics, prebiotics, microbiota and fermentation, and discover why they are turning up in our food.

    • Stakeholder perspectives

      A range of views from the different players: the producers to the consumers.

    • Analyse and reflect

      An opportunity to read about the pros and cons of probiotics and make up your own mind about their importance.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

The CPD Certification Service was established in 1996 and is the leading independent CPD accreditation institution operating across industry sectors to complement the CPD policies of professional and academic bodies.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll 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

Who is the course for?

This course is for 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 Educators won’t be able to join the discussions themselves or respond to individual comments, but the course encourages a strong learning community. The learning is focused around debate and discussion – supporting other learners, sharing your own experience and knowledge, and listening to new perspectives. We hope that you will enjoy interacting with and learning from each other in this way. Don’t forget to comment, reply to other learners and ‘like’ comments.

What do people say about this course?

Wonderful, informative and highly educational course!

"Wonderful, informative and highly educational course! It will definitely lead to a better perspective when analysing information to draw conclusions."

Who will you learn with?

I am an Associate Professor in International Rural Development. I trained as a social anthropologist. My research centres around understanding systemic change in agrarian environments.

I am a Senior Manager at the European Food Information Council. My role is creating science-based content on nutrition and health whilst leading communication activities for EU research projects.

I’m a professor in food microbiology at the University of Torino, Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences. My research focuses on food safety and microbial ecology of fermented foods.

Who developed the course?

EIT Food

EIT Food is Europe’s leading food initiative, working to make the food system more sustainable, healthy and trusted.

University of Reading

The University of Reading has a reputation for excellence in teaching, research and enterprise.

European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)

The European Institute of Innovation & Technology strengthens Europe’s ability to innovate by powering solutions to pressing global challenges and by nurturing entrepreneurial skills in Europe’s largest innovation ecosystem.

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  • Access to ALL eligible short courses with additional benefits, for a year
  • Discuss your learning in comments
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  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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