Michael Roberts


speaker Michael Roberts

Trust is the biggest, most important word when it comes to regulating food.

Michael T. Roberts is a professor at UCLA Law and the founding Executive Director of the Resnick Center for Food Law and Policy. Roberts is a thought leader in a broad range of legal and policy issues from farm to fork in local, national, and global food supply systems. He taught the first food law and policy course in the United States in 2004 and served as the leading force in the development in 2005 of the first scholarly journal – Journal of Food Law and Policy – devoted exclusively to the field. 

Talks by Michael Roberts


related talk Criminal Lab Grown Meat
Criminal Lab Grown Meat

The sale and production of lab-grown meat have been criminalized in Florida and Alabama, with other states considering similar legislation. Food law expert Professor Michael Roberts from UCLA Law School explains what the new laws do as well as how they fit into the federal regulatory framework and the historical context of food law and politics in the United States.

Key Discussion Points:

State-Level Bans:

  • Florida and Alabama Legislation: Both states have recently passed laws prohibiting the manufacture, sale, and distribution of lab-grown meat. Amost other things, these bans aim to protect traditional agriculture and address consumer safety concerns. Professor Roberts discusses the specifics of these laws, criticisms, and the legislative motivations behind them.

Federal Regulatory Framework:

  • USDA and FDA Collaboration: Professor Roberts provides insights into the joint regulatory framework established by the USDA and FDA for overseeing lab-grown meat. He explains the distinct roles of each agency in ensuring the safety and labeling of these products.

Historical Context and Legal Precedents:

  • Evolution of Food Law: The interview places the current bans within the historical context of food regulation in the United States. Professor Roberts traces the development of food law and the political forces that have shaped it, noting key moments and legal precedents from the battle over margarine to the GMO-labeling controversy.

Federalism and State vs. Federal Authority: The tension between state and federal authority in regulating food products is explored. Professor Roberts discusses the potential for legal challenges based on federal preemption principles and how state-level bans interact with federal regulations.