Food Law – A scholarly writing course in Fall 2019

By Food Law instructor Joanna Sax

Malnutrition is the leading cause of death and disease world-wide.  We need to address this problem, now, and science is an important tool in which to do so.  Climate change is probably the biggest issue that needs immediate attention, and changes to farming practices are part of that solution.  Food is at the nexus of some of the most pressing problems this world faces and my new course, Food Law, will address a myriad of issues about food regulation and the larger social context.  

The area of food law has occupied a great deal of my time for the past few years.  My entry into this area began in 2013, when I was invited to present my research on dietary supplements at a conference on the future of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at Harvard Law School.  While most of this FDA conference focused on drugs, the last panel of the two-day conference addressed the regulation of food.  Other presenters on my panel proposed their thoughts on GMOs, which conflicted with the scientific evidence about the safety of GMOs (it is safe).  The audience erupted and the discussion that followed showed the extent of the controversy regarding GMOs. 

With my science background (I have a PhD in molecular biology), I knew I should enter this fray in my research.  So, for the past five years, I have researched, written, and presented about GMOs.  The scientific consensus is that GMOs are as safe as non-GMOs.  In many cases, the technology to make GMOs will lead to healthy and environmentally-friendly products compared to conventional or organic products.  The regulatory structure for GMOs fails to be based on the science, which is problematic.  Properly regulating our food supply is important for both national of international reasons.

I hope students will consider taking this course, engage in these important issues, and contemplate a career in food law – many related job opportunities exist.

Food Law will be offered in Fall 2019 on Fridays from 9:35 a.m. to 12:35 p.m.  Fall registration starts June 18. For those of you taking Evidence early Friday mornings, you might as well just stay on campus and take this class as well!  

Questions? Contact Prof. Sax at