Sustainable Food and the Constitution

50 Ariz. St. L.J. 549 (2018). Ernesto Hernández-López.

Sustainable food policies strive for environmental, healthy, economically just, and humane food production. Their success has ignited legal debates about the Constitution. This is not new. Iconic constitutional law cases examine sustainable food, such as meat in the Slaughter-House Cases (1873), bread in Lochner v. New York (1905), and wheat in Wickard v. Filburn (1942). Currently, as eaters, cooks, growers, and policymakers seek sustainable food, food-and-Constitution debates continue. For recent examples, this Article analyzes disputes about pork, foie gras, shark fins, eggs, and ag-gag policies. It uses food studies approaches to identify what motivates food-and-Constitution jurisprudence. For advocates and courts, this illuminates what is at stake, when analyzing sustainable food sourcing, production means, and menu offerings.

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