Baylen J. Linnekin & Emily M. Broad Leib, Food Law & Policy: The Fertile Field's Origins and First Decade, 2014 Wis. L. Rev. 557 (2014).
Abstract: Legal knowledge, learning, and scholarship pertaining to the production and regulation of food historically centered around two distinct fields of law: Food & Drug Law and Agricultural Law. The former focuses on the regulation of food by the Food and Drug Administration under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, while the latter examines the impacts of law on the agricultural sector’s production of food and fiber. Neither field—alone or in tandem—focuses in whole or in part on many of the most pressing legal issues that currently impact our food system. Consequently, elements of these two fields converged roughly one decade ago to create a significant and distinct new field of legal study: “Food Law & Policy.” This field explores legal and policy issues well outside the scope of Food & Drug Law and of Agricultural Law to address important questions about food that had never been explored fully within the legal academy. Food Law & Policy embraces a broader study of laws and regulations at all levels of government that impact the food system—covering everything from local regulations pertaining to farmers’ markets or food trucks to federal policies pertaining to obesity or hunger. Food Law & Policy now enjoys a strong and growing presence throughout the legal academy. This Article introduces ten categories of original empirical data to document the field’s vitality—including figures on law school courses, legal scholarship, clinical legal programs, and student societies at U.S. law schools. It details the past and present of Food & Drug Law and Agricultural Law alongside that of Food Law & Policy. The Article demonstrates that Food Law & Policy has proven to be a timely and vibrant addition to the legal academy and suggests next steps in the ongoing development of the field.