Robert Lustig opened the Food Law Society's Harvard Forum on Food Policy on October 20th with his lecture, "The Sugar Epidemic: Policy vs. Politics." Recently featured in The New York Times Magazine, Dr. Lustig has become a leading pubic health authority on the impact sugar has on fueling the diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome epidemics, and on addressing changes in the food environment to reverse these chronic diseases.

Please continue below the fold for an abstract of his talk.

The Food Law Society hosted a talk by Barry Estabrook on September 22 in which he discussed his recently published book, Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit. As noted by Rachel Greenberger's coverage of the talk, Estabrook "immediately honed in on justice," arguing that the Florida winter tomato is the poster child for many problems of large scale farming. As revealed in his writing, workers in the industry are routinely sprayed with pesticides, paid below minimum wages, and are often victims of slavery and indentured servitude.
If you could write your own food regulatory act, how would it differ from the current regime?

It would simplify the current one, but it would use many of the same terms. So many of the things that Congress adds to a statute are totally redundant and irrelevant. I keep making the point in class that the food safety law in England of 1263 does not improve one iota upon the food safety law of 2011. So it could be simplified, but it’s something that’s a product of history and it would be incredibly difficult to try to simplify it. People would just go berserk and say no, we have a jurisprudence, let’s stick with it.

Dubbed the "dean of the food and drug bar" by the Legal Times, Peter Hutt has been a leading food and drug law practitioner and scholar for almost half a century. Hutt has specialized in food and drug law at the Washington D.C. firm of Covington and Burlington since 1960, pausing only to serve as Chief Counsel of the FDA from 1971 to 1975. A prodigious writer, he is co-author of the widely used casebook Food and Drug Law: Cases and Materials. He has also taught Food and Drug Law at Harvard Law School since 1994. The Food Law Society recently interviewed Hutt about his career, how food law has evolved over the years, and his tenure as Chief Counsel. 

New York Times bestselling author and acclaimed science writer Gary Taubes delivered a lecture on March 30, “Why We Get Fat: Adiposity 101 and the Alternative Hypothesis of Obesity,” as part of a series of events sponsored by Harvard Law School’s Food Law Society.

Presenting findings from his fourth book, "Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It" (December 2010), Taubes said he wrote to the book to “convince public health authorities that they should rethink everything they know…about obesity and chronic disease.”

A link to a video of the event can be found below the fold.


The Food Law Society recently hosted Fred Kaufman, whose groundbreaking Harper’s article, “The Food Bubble: How Wall Street Starved Millions and Got Away With It,” examined the role investment banks played in the upsurge of food prices in 2008. Mr. Kaufman discussed the ongoing food crisis and took questions from the audience.

"Recently, there are additional new opportunities at Harvard to explore food policy issues. In 2010, law students formed the Harvard Food Law Society, and in a less than a year developed a membership of 150 students.  That same year, Harvard Senior Clinical Fellow, Emily Broad began work on a new Food Policy Initiative."

Read more here.

Sarah Klein
As part of our continuing series of interviews with practicing attorneys, the Food Law Society recently talked to Sarah Klein, Staff Attorney with the Food Safety Program for the Center for Science in the Public Interest. 

Ms. Klein represents CSPI in the regulatory arena, commenting to USDA and FDA on issues relating to food safety programs, including risk-based inspection, imported food, school lunch safety, and irradiated food labeling, among others. 

Robert J. Uram
  The Food Law Society is publishing a series of interviews with attorneys whose practices relate to food law or policy. Our second interview is with Robert J. Uram, a partner in the Real Estate, Land Use, Natural Resources and Environmental practice group in Sheppard Mullin’s San Francisco office. He is a founding member of the firm's Organic Food and Fiber Law group.

Mr. Uram represents organic food distribution and production companies and 501(c)(3) organizations that support research to improve organic farming and that support the growth of organic production. With the assistance of his partners, he represents these organizations on a broad range of issues, including organic compliance, corporate, contract, labor, and intellectual property issues.

Becky Goldberg
The Food Law Society recently interviewed Rebecca Goldberg, Staff Attorney for the Food and Drug Administration, Office of the Chief Counsel, about her work and the broader field of food law.

Becky Goldberg graduated from Harvard Law School in 2007.  In 2008-2009, she clerked for the Hon. Robert D. Sack of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  Following her clerkship, Becky began work at the FDA, where she focuses primarily on the regulation of food and dietary supplements.