Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy Newsletter

Winter 16-17

Announcing "The Pursuit of Food Authenticity", a White Paper

The Resnick Program is excited to announce the publication of a White Paper, The Pursuit of Food Authenticity: Recommended Legal and Policy Strategies to Eradicate Economically Motivated Adulteration (Food Fraud). The publication of this White Paper coincides with an uptick in media attention globally on this type of fraud - dilution, substitution, omission, or concealment, all for the purpose of economic gain. The White Paper notes that this fraud (EMA) often leads to food safety incidents and cheats consumers.


As with food law in general, the regulation of EMA can be convoluted, leading to weak enforcement by the government. Recognizing that the current political reality does not support new regulations, the paper recommends that the FDA enforce the existing statutory mandate against EMA for the benefit of consumers in a smart, efficient manner by setting enforcement priorities and by collaborating with science experts and the food industry. The paper also recommends that the food industry address food fraud by embracing the norm of food authenticity and establishing self-governance rules as it has done so with sustainability. Last, the paper proposes specific changes in litigation against food fraud.


Authors Michael T. Roberts (Executive Director) and Whitney Turk (Research Fellow) hope that the legal and policy changes recommended in the White Paper will prompt new approaches to dealing with this serious problem.

Resnick Program to Co-Author Update to CSPI Food Labeling Report

In March of 2010, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) authored a far-reaching report, "Food Labeling Chaos", outlining the current problems with food labels in the US and recommendations to improve labeling for consumers.


CSPI argued that “accurate, easy to read, and scientifically valid nutrition and health information on food labels is an essential component of a comprehensive public health strategy to help consumers improve their diets and reduce their risk of diet-related diseases.” The publication of this report prompted the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to demand food companies change labeling on at least two dozen products that violate FDA regulations. While the report has helped generate change, additional work remains, especially as the composition of food continues to evolve and as the need for consumers to receive timely and accurate information increases.

The Resnick Program and a team of bright UCLA law and public health students are teaming up with CSPI to research and write an update to the 2010 Food Labeling Chaos report. This update will document the recommendations to Congress and the FDA have adopted over the past 6 years to improve labeling, and identify what more is left for Congress and the FDA to do, as well as states, municipalities, and courts. 

New Initiative: Animals and Our Food System

About 10 billion land animals are raised each year in the US for human consumption and the majority experience inhumane treatment and unsanitary conditions. Given these numbers, it is clear that animal welfare within the food system lies at the increasingly prevalent intersection of animal law and food law.


The Resnick Program is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Animal Law and Policy Program at UCLA School of Law. This initiative on animal welfare and the food system, a naturally emerging collaboration between animal and food law, launches at a time of growing momentum for both fields. Recently, many plant-based innovative foods and meat alternatives have gained traction with consumers, in turn raising awareness about, and potentially reducing, the role of animals in our diets. Thus, by teaming up, there is potential for considerable gains on both ends.


The initiative, led by Michael Roberts of the Resnick Program and Taimie Bryant of the Animal Law & Policy Program, will create an important intellectual forum to bring together leaders and stakeholders from both animal law and food law. It will feature a series of roundtable discussions, panels, and conferences to advance the discourse about the treatment of animals in food systems and explore practical solutions related to private standards, anti-trust, mergers and acquisitions, and more.

First Food Law & Policy Clinic in CA Takes on First Projects

The Food Law and Policy Clinic at the UCLA School of Law is the first of its kind in California. Each term, 8 UCLA Law students participate in weekly seminars and field work where they develop practical skills such as interviewing, counseling, social science research analysis, legislative drafting, administrative rulemaking, and oral advocacy under the supervision of Resnick Program Clinical Director, Allison Korn.


Two projects form the core of the new program, which began in January and runs through the spring semester. In one project, a partnership with the advocacy group Compassion Over Killing, students are identifying ways in which purveyors of meat-alternative and plant-based products can compete for contracts to operate school meals programs. The second project works with Southern California-based Food Forward to expand efforts to rescue, harvest and distribute produce that would otherwise go to waste.

2016 Local Food Policy Tracker

We are pleased to present the second annual Los Angeles Food Policy Tracker! The Resnick Program in conjunction with the Los Angeles Food Policy Council actively follows Los Angeles food policy activity.


The 2016 version documents policies that were adopted, expired, or are currently pending during the time period from January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016.  



Fall Conference on Food Marketing to Children Videos Now Available

We are also pleased to announce that our entire 3rd annual food law conference on Food Marketing to Children, which was held on October 21, 2016, is available for viewing on our website, here.

Winter Food Law Events

The Resnick Program was thrilled to invite Steve Armstrong, former Chief Food Law Counsel at Campbell Soup Company, to campus to share his experience and career advice with students at a lunch event on February 2, 2017. UCLA law, business, and public health students gathered to hear Mr. Armstrong talk about trends in food law over the past 20 years and what future challenges will include, especially transparency and GMOs.

On February 21, 2017, the Resnick Program hosted an evening panel on California’s cottage food law. A California work group including Farmer Mai, Christina Oatfield, and Mark Stambler of Pagnol Boulanger gathered to discuss the cottage food law and ways to make it more inclusive.