Law 440 - Introduction to Food Law and Policy

Michael T. Roberts

Michael T. Roberts

Executive Director of the Resnick Center for Food Law and Policy,
Adjunct Faculty
B.S. University of Utah, 1986
J.D. University of Utah, 1989
LL.M. University of Arkansas, 2000
Course Description:

UCLA School of Law has established the Resnick Center for Food Law and Policy, which has emerged as a thought leader in this new field. The Resnick Center recognizes the important role of food law and policy in a modern food system that is different than anything the world has ever experienced. This modern food system – from the farm to the fork – has given rise to profound health, social, environmental, and cultural consequences. This Introductory course will show how food law as a response to this modern food system has adapted and developed into a distinctive area of law, involving food safety, food marketing, nutrition, trade, and food system issues (food security, sustainability, and equality). Within each of these distinctive areas, a number of interesting legal and policy tools have emerged, including federal, state, and municipal regulation; litigation; government program incentives; international standards; and so-called soft-law. This course will examine these tools, all while covering issues important to all eaters: from genetically modified and organic food to labels and advertising to obesity and malnutrition to food equity and justice to animal welfare and environmental practices to controversial and new, innovative foods. The course will involve lively discussion on issues of importance to legal scholars and eaters alike and the annual in-class olive-oil tasting demonstration. Students will be able to explore in-depth a food law and policy issue of interest in a final paper. Students will be encouraged to select a topic that correlates to their practice area interest outside of food law (i.e., litigation public interest, environmental, administrative law, etc.), which is possible due to the multi-doctrinal nature of food law. 


Course Learning Outcomes:

1. Formulate legal and policy solutions to food law and policy issues;

2. engage institutions and individuals that influence law and policy;

3. work effectively in a professional interdisciplinary environment within and across diverse groups of people and stakeholders with varying backgrounds and perspectives;

4. learn to communicate clearly as advocates, leaders, and problem-solvers; and

5. develop in-depth analysis and research skills into a significant law and policy issue

Course Information:
​Faculty Term Course Section ​Schedule ​Units Requisite Satisfies SAW
Michael Roberts 19F 440 LEC 1 MW 3:20 PM - 5:20 PM 4.0 No Per instructor's discretion
Textbook Information:
Textbook for Fall 2019 LEC 1
Gersen, Pollans and Roberts. Food Law: Cases and Materials    
ISBN: 9781454858058. Wolters Kluwer. REQUIRED