Human Biology & Physiology BSc/MSci

Functional Foods 4D option BIOL4268

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Cardiovascular and Metabolic
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

Students will work individually or in small groups under supervision to consider the evidence for the effects of individual foods and food ingredients on health and consider the evidence required to support health claims and design of functional foods. They will individually develop a portfolio of evidence for a functional food as would be necessary for a health claim in line with requirements in Europe. 


This option is assigned to S2-D. There are normally 3 hours of teaching on Fridays, which may be split over more than one session. 

Excluded Courses



Students will develop a detailed portfolio of evidence for a real or hypothetical functional food for a health claim. They will present the evidence gathered from a systematic and critical review of the literature following the requirements of a professional or governmental body such as EFSA. The portfolio will also include: a reflective review of the process, a hypothetical letter to the company who commissioned the health claim application explaining the strength and weaknesses of the proposed claim, a justified recommendation for whether it should be submitted or not, a self-reflection on their experience of the process and a copy of the slides from the final overview presentation. 

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to provide students with the knowledge and skills to evaluate the impact of food and food ingredients on health. They will be given the opportunity to develop skills related to identifying and critiquing evidence from food science, nutrition, and clinical trials. They will also be able to develop their communication skills for writing professional reports and presentations for a mixed audience. They will explore the legal framework for approval of health claims and learn how to present evidence to bodies such as the EUROPEAN FOOD SAFETY AUTHORITY (EFSA) for this purpose. 

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students, will be able to:

■ Critically discuss the concept and requirements for functional foods;

■ Apply the legal and evidence requirements for making health claims in Europe;

■ Carry out a competent and complete literature search for studies providing evidence for physiological and health effects;

■ Critique evidence for health effects in published literature and reports;

■ Present an argument for a health claim against official criteria and other requirements;

■ Develop a scientific argument and present evidence for a functional food with potential health claims following the requirements of a professional or governmental body.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.