This Special Issue aims to develop a deeper understanding of the interplay between public and private actors in the regulatory governance of food. It starts from the observation that the traditional concept of law as command-and-control legislation and law enforcement by national governmental bodies, including inspectorates and courts, is not adequate to capture today's world of food governance. Nowadays, a broad range of public and private entities acting at national and international level seek to shape and influence the production, trade and handling of food and the risks involved therein. Drawing on data from Europe and the United States, the contributions to this Special Issue seek to unravel the intimate, yet complex ties between public and private actors within governance arrangements regulating food safety and sustainability. The articles are focused around the various phases of the policy cycle for food governance, thus addressing the interaction in stages of agenda-setting and rule-making, adoption and implementation, monitoring and enforcement, and evaluation and review. In descriptive terms, each contribution lays out the ‘who’ (actors), the ‘what’ (activity), the ‘why’ (rationale) and the ‘how’ (instruments) of food governance. In evaluative terms, the papers discuss and explain the results and challenges of the design of the public private governance arrangements. Jointly, the contributions offer original and invaluable empirical insights explaining the rise, design and challenges of mixed governance arrangements in the food sector.