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Journal Symposium – Law and Food Systems: Institutional Pathways toward a New Paradigm?

Food law and policy is one of the fastest growing legal academic fields in the U.S., and the issues in this complex area are gaining significant traction in the public sphere. The food industry, consumers, attorneys, and policy practitioners face a fragmented set of rules, authorities, and institutional arbiters for determining how issues related to the nation’s food system should be defined and regulated.


An opportunity for academic innovators to dialog with food industry stakeholders, this day-long Symposium will feature presentations of articles focusing on insights into the challenges and potential solutions for creating a food regulatory regime that is more responsive to the realities on the ground as experienced by the multiple stakeholders. Discussants will critique the papers, and attendees will have access to the material in advance, in order to enhance informed debate. Final versions of the articles will be considered for publication in the Food and Drug Law Journal’s Symposium issue.


  • How does the international legal sphere contribute to food law and regulation?
  • Are there workable proposals to create a single food agency in the U.S.?
  • What are the forces that act on FDA/USDA in setting priorities? Examples include class action litigation, and stakeholder actions in the administrative, judicial, and legislative spheres.
  • How do state-federal tensions and disbursed jurisdiction across agencies hinder or encourage legitimate and effective decision making?

Keynote: Blueprint for a National Food System

The Blueprint is a research project jointly conducted by Harvard’s Food Law and Policy Clinic and University of Vermont’s Center for Agriculture and Food Systems. Authors Emily Broad Leib and Laurie Beyranevand focus on process rather than specific, substantive food policy outcomes. Their work is a comparative, in-depth look at the processes by which food strategies have been developed internationally, as well as how national strategies addressing other issue areas have been created in the United States. The final report will include a set of recommendations for how the United States can move toward a more comprehensive, integrated regulatory approach to food systems issues.

We are also very fortunate to be joined by a host of experienced moderators and discussants who are very familiar with food law and policy, including:

  • Sarah Roller, Partner, Kelly Drye & Warren
  • Sarah Roache, Senior Associate, O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University
  • Anthony Anscombe, Partner, Sedgwick, LLP
  • Valerie Madamba, Food Regulatory Counsel, Blue Apron
  • Scott E. Faber, Senior Vice President, Environmental Working Group, Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown University
  • Sandra Eskin, Director, Food Safety, The Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Michael Taylor, Former Deputy Commissioner, FDA
  • Amy Comstock Rick, President & CEO, FDLI

View Papers