Food libel laws

From WikiMD's Food, Medicine & Wellnesspedia

Food libel laws, also known as veggie libel laws, are laws in some jurisdictions, such as the United States, that make it easier for food producers to sue their critics for libel. These laws vary significantly from country to country, but they generally allow a food producer to sue a person or group who makes disparaging comments about their food products. In some cases, the burden of proof is placed on the defendant, who must prove the truth of their statements in court.

History[edit | edit source]

The first food libel law was passed in the United States in 1991, in response to a 60 Minutes report on the use of Alar in apples. The report led to a significant drop in apple sales, and apple growers successfully sued CBS for libel. Since then, 13 states in the U.S. have passed food libel laws.

Criticism[edit | edit source]

Food libel laws have been criticized for infringing on freedom of speech and stifling public debate about food safety. Critics argue that these laws can be used to intimidate critics and suppress negative information about food products. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other civil liberties organizations have opposed food libel laws on these grounds.

Notable cases[edit | edit source]

One of the most famous food libel cases involved Oprah Winfrey, who was sued by Texas cattlemen after she made negative comments about beef on her talk show in 1996. The case was ultimately dismissed, but it brought national attention to food libel laws.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD