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Food Law & Policy: An Essential Part of Today’s Legal Academy

Food Law & Policy is the study of the basis and impact of those laws and regulations that govern the food and beverages we grow, raise, produce, transport, buy, sell, distribute, share, cook, eat, and drink.

A recent article by FLPC Director Emily Broad Leib and Baylen J. Linnekin, adjunct professor at George Mason University, was published in the Journal of Food Law and Policy.  Food Law and Policy: An Essential Part of Today’s Legal Academy is a follow-up to their 2014 analysis of the development and history of the relatively new academic field of Food Law & Policy (“FL&P”). In the 2014 article, they traced the roots of FL&P to Food & Drug Law and Agricultural Law, noting that it differs from its parent fields in that FL&P explores the regulation of food by various agencies, at all levels of government, and across the range of agricultural, health, labor, economic, environmental, and other issues that intersect with food. They also developed ten criteria to measure the breadth and depth of a legal-academic field; FL&P met seven of the ten criteria in 2014 and was firmly entrenched in terms of course offerings, clinical projects, and scholarly writing.

Their new article finds that, four years later, the field now meets all ten of the criteria for an academic field, and its continued growth has solidified its place in legal academia. The article endeavors to assess and discuss this growth by reviewing the same ten criteria of a legal-academic field and tracking developments in the four years since the initial data collection. As the article details, FL&P’s newfound strength within each of the ten criteria demonstrates the field has grown strong roots.

“FL&P courses—and the faculty who teach them—are now the norm at many of America’s top schools…”

Some findings from Food Law and Policy: An Essential Part of Today’s Legal Academy:

  •   In 2013, 20 of the top 100 law schools offered FL&P courses. In 2017, 34 of those 100 schools offered courses.
  • In 2013, there was 1 dedicated FL&P clinic and 30 clinics at 23 schools pursued FL&P projects; in 2017, 4 schools boasted dedicated FL&P clinics, and 69 clinics at 48 schools conducted FL&P projects.
  • In 2013, there were less than 10 Food Law Societies at U.S. Law Schools, while today there are more than 30.
  • The Academy of Food Law & Policy, launched 2016, is the first dedicated professional association for the field and boasts nearly 80 members, including several international members.
  • In 2014, Lisa Heinzerling of Georgetown University Law Center published the first dedicated FL&P casebook, Food Law: Cases and Materials, and several other casebooks are under development. 

Download and read the full article, Food Law and Policy: An Essential Part of Today’s Legal Academy.

Learn more about the Academy of Food Law & Policy.


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