Harvard Hosts Conference on Food Labeling

The Harvard Law School Food Law Society is hosting its second food policy conference, and the first law school-hosted conference dedicated to examining the issue of food labeling from a legal perspective in Cambridge, Mass. on March 8-9, 2013. The conference will explore the legal and policy aspects of food labeling, specifically its effects on consumer knowledge, choice, and behavior, and will feature a series of lecturers and panelists who are experts in the field.

Students in the Food Law Society recognized that the U.S. legal framework and regulatory oversight greatly influence consumer knowledge and choice. Rachel Clark, President of the Food Law Society says, “People find food labels universally confusing and often unhelpful. We realized that a lot of this confusion stems from the laws and regulations behind the labels, and we thought the time was right to bring attention to this aspect of the system.”

Urvashi Rangan, Director of Consumer Safety and Sustainability Group at Consumer Reports, will provide a keynote speech during Friday’s events. Other speakers include:

  • Rebecca Goldberg, Attorney at the Office of Chief Counsel at FDA;
  • Michael Roberts, Adjunct Professor at UCLA Law School;
  • Jennifer Pomeranz, Director of Legal Initiatives at the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University;
  • Helen Falco, Director of Nutrition & Health Policy of the Coca-Cola Company;
  • Jesse LaFlamme, CEO and President of Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs;
  • Carter Dillard, Director of Litigation at the Animal Legal Defense Fund;
  • Andrew Gunther, Program Director at Animal Welfare Approved; and
  • Christina Roberto, Health & Society Scholar at the Harvard School of Public Health.

AWA Program Director Andrew Gunther, panelist on marketing claims, says, “We tend to see discussion on labels from the consumers perspective, but this legal aspect is fresh and innovative.”

Event supporters include Animal Welfare Approved, the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, the Petrie Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics, Let’s Talk About Food, the Harvard Law School Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, the HLS Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, and the Harvard Environmental Law Society.

The first day of the conference will be held on Harvard Law School’s campus in Austin Hall (1563 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA) from 3 – 7:30 p.m. The second day of the conference will be held at Pfizer Lecture Hall (12 Oxford St. Cambridge, MA) on Harvard University’s campus from 9 a.m. to noon.

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