Thursday, March 17, 2011

Summer Academy on Global Food law & Policy

The third Summer Academy in Global Food Law & Policy will take place at Como Lake - Italy, July 25-29, 2011, at the beautiful Villa La Collina. A distinguished faculty from relevant food organizations (WTO, Codex, EFSA, EU Commission), industry (Coca Cola) as well as academia (Michigan, Bocconi, HEC Paris) will be animating cutting-edge discussions on the latest developments in global food governance, from food private standards to health claims, from US Food Modernization Act to novel food regulation. 

Among the those presenting are four faculty from the Institute for Food Laws and Regulations (IFLR) at Michigan State University: Neal Fortin, Professor at MSU and IFLR Director along with IFLR guest instructors Alberto Alemmano, Associate Professor of Law at HEC Paris, Gretchen Stanton,  Senior Counsellor at WTO, and Raymond O'Rourke, Barrister, Ireland.

For more information on the program and the faculty, please find the brochure here and more information here and here. Please don't hesitate to contact Nikola Bock ( for more information.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Chief Justice Roberts Lectures AT&T on the Differences between Corn and Corny

In the recent FCC v. AT&T decision, the Supreme Court unanimously shot down the argument that corporations have "personal privacy" which allows them to withhold information under the personal privacy exceptions to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). (Justice Kagan did not participate.) AT&T argued that since Congress had defined "person" to include corporations, "personal privacy" rights should apply to a corporation. AT&T argued that the adjectival form of the defined word, personal, should refer to the defined word, person. 
Chief Justice Roberts gave AT& T a lesson on the the complexity and nuance of American English with some wry humor:
Adjectives typically reflect the meaning of corresponding nouns, but not always. Sometimes they acquire distinct meanings of their own. The noun "crab" refers variously to a crustacean and a type of apple, while the related adjective "crabbed" can refer to handwriting that is "difficult to read," Webster's Third New International Dictionary 527 (2002); "corny" can mean "using familiar and stereotyped formulas believed to appeal to the unsophisticated," id., at 509, which has little to do with "corn," id., at 507 ("the seeds of any of the cereal grasses used for food"); and while "crank" is "a part of an axis bent at right angles," "cranky" can mean "given to fretful fussiness," id., at 530.
In short, Chief Justice Roberts held that a corporation doesn't qualify for a "personal privacy" exemption under the law. 
"We trust that AT&T won't take it personally," he wrote.
The full opinion is available here.

EU BPA Ban Now in Effect

A ban prohibiting the manufacture in the European Union of baby bottles containing Bisphenol A (BPA) became effective March 1, 2011. BPA is an organic molecule that is used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics. Small amounts of BPA can be released from plastic containers into the food they carry if these containers are heated at high temperatures. According to scientific evidence, infants' ability to eliminate BPA is still building up during their first six months of life.
The ban of the manufacture of baby bottles with BPA was adopted in January (EU Directive (2011/8/EU) and entered into force on March 1. For more information, visit Alberto Alemanno's blog here.