Sustainable Food and the Constitution

33 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2018

See all articles by Ernesto Hernandez Lopez

Ernesto Hernandez Lopez

Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law

Date Written: June 28, 2018


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.

Keywords: Food, Sustainability, Constitution, Ag-Gag, Agriculture, Eggs, Foie Gras, Shark Fin, Commerce Clause, Preemption

JEL Classification: Q1, Q18, Q22, Q28, Q38, Q57, R, K23, K32, K42, K1, D4, D61, D63, H23, H11, H75, Z13, Z18

Suggested Citation

Hernandez Lopez, Ernesto, Sustainable Food and the Constitution (June 28, 2018). Arizona State Law Journal, Vol. 50, 547-579, 2018, Available at SSRN:

Ernesto Hernandez Lopez (Contact Author)

Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law ( email )

One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866-1099
United States

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