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Monday, November 9, 2015

Food Law Presentation at Boyd

Photo © 2015 Gary A. Trimble
Food is an important part of life in Las Vegas: many of the more than 40 million tourists who visit Las Vegas each year come in part to enjoy the fine restaurants in the city, and for many of the 2.1 million inhabitants of the Las Vegas metropolitan area good food is a part of their daily lives. It is therefore no surprise that issues such as quality, provenance, and safety of food are of paramount importance, including the legal aspects of these issues.

On November 2, 2015, Boyd faculty and students enjoyed a presentation from Professor Barry Levenson, an expert in food law. Professor Levenson is the founder and curator of the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin, and teaches food law at the University of Wisconsin Law School. He has authored three books, including Habeas Codfish: Reflections on Food and the Law, published in 2001 by The University of Wisconsin Press. Professor Levenson’s distinguished legal career has included the position of Assistant Attorney General and head of the Criminal Appeals Division of the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Justice. He takes pride in being the only lawyer ever to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court with a jar of mustard in his pocket (Griffin v. Wisconsin, 483 U.S. 868 (1987)).

Photo © 2015 Gary A. Trimble
Professor Levenson detailed the development of health law in the United States over the past 100 years and discussed FDA regulations and labelling issues. He pointed out the latest trends in food law, including litigation concerning the intersection of the Lanham Act and FDA regulations. In addition to Boyd faculty and students, faculty and students from the UNLV William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration also attended the presentation, and local food critic John Curtas enriched the discussion with his observations.

Food law expertise is also represented on the Boyd faculty: Professor Bret Birdsong (on leave 2013-2015) has taught food law at Boyd and has published on the topic; Professor Mary LaFrance has written about food labelling issues; and Professor Marketa Trimble teaches about geographical indications and appellations of origin in her International Intellectual Property class.