Our goal is not simply to influence debate. We seek outsized impact in the real world.

We Are Primarily Focused In Four Main Areas

In addition, we welcome and support research and teaching on any issue related to food law.

Food Law Lab Bulletin

In 2024, the FLL is starting a new venture. Early research in food science and food law was issued in Research Bulletins. For example, the Bureau of Chemistry in the U.S. Department of Agriculture regularly issued Bulletins to report on their research on sugars, corns, baking powders, food additives, preservatives, and so on. As a way of regularly disseminating research, views, and happenings, twice a year (in June and November), we will publish the Food Law Lab Bulletin.

Taste-Health Tradeoffs

Why do so many of us want to eat healthily but struggle to do so? Our evolving research suggests part of the answer lies in the perceived tradeoff between taste and health. Most consumers want to eat food that is both tasty and healthy, but for economic, political, and psychological reasons, it is often easier to satisfy the demand for taste than the demand for health. This taste-health tradeoff, and the consumer choice between the two, has significant long-term consequences for what we eat and the way we eat it. How does the law make the taste-health tradeoff better or worse?

Consumer Confusion

Recent years have seen an enormous spike in false advertising litigation filings, often class action suits, brought against the food and drug industry. Whether stylized as violations of state consumer protection law or violations of federal legal requirements, all these suits turn on a common question: would the reasonable consumer be confused by the advertising, product name, label, or packaging? What does and ought the law require of the reasonable consumer? Should that question be decided by judges, jurors, or administrative agencies? What about all the unreasonable consumers? Our ongoing research on consumer confusion in food law grapples with these questions and more.

Surveying Food

A mainstay of our research is an annual consumer survey on food, law, and politics. Our research questions vary from year to year, but past surveys have focused on perceptions of food regulation, beliefs about GMO foods, sensitivity to food labels, valuation of organic or natural foods, and purchasing and consumption behavior. If you have questions about food that our survey might be able to help answer, why not reach out to us? Maybe we can include them next year.

Our Perspective

Our latest points of view and other news.