In this talk, Professor Christine Parker will critically investigate the role of food labeling and its contestation as a governance pathway towards healthy, sustainable, fair food systems. Consumers are often encouraged to “vote with their fork” and “say no” to unhealthy, unsustainable and unfair food. As a result the food label has become a heavily contested governance space – an arena in which governments, activists, social entrepreneurs and industry all seek to influence both consumer choices and the food chain as a whole. Professor Parker will describe the results of her three year empirical socio-legal research project examining higher animal welfare labeling in Australia to examine how effective these strategies are. She will compare the Australian experience with approaches to humane labeling in the US and EU. She will also draw some broader lessons about health and sustainability claims on food labels. This event is co-sponsored by the Animal Law Society, Food Law Society, Effective Altruists, Animal Law & Policy Program, Food Law and Policy Clinic, and Petrie-Flom Center. This event is funded by the DOS Grant Fund. Plant-based lunch will be provided.
Professor Christine Parker is Professor of Law at the University of Melbourne, Australia and a Visiting Fellow at the Harvard Law School Animal Law & Policy Program. She teaches corporate social responsibility and business regulation, legal ethics, and food law and policy, at Melbourne Law School and is the author of The Open Corporation (2002) Explaining Compliance (2011, with Vibeke Nielsen), Inside Lawyers’ Ethics (3rd edition, 2018, with Adrian Evans). Professor Parker’s research on the politics of higher welfare food labeling has been published in a range of Australian and international legal and socio-legal journals. Her paper (with Hope Johnson and Janine Curll) on the insidious impact of misleading health, sustainability and fair trade claims on “superfood” products is forthcoming in the Journal of Food Law and Policy. She is currently developing a new project on the possibilities for regulatory governance to help create a transformed relationship with animals and ecosystems in food system.