Posts Tagged ‘law’

Ask a Food Lawyer: Breaking Down Legal Barriers for Small-Scale Local Food

Interview with Janelle Orsi, executive director of the Sustainable Economies Law Center

Orsi_Janelle_photoThis time on Ask a Food Lawyer, instead of answering questions, I’m doing the asking. Numerous food lawyers across the country are working hard to improve the food system. From drafting legislation to challenging corporate misconduct to supporting sustainable alternatives, these smart lawyers are playing a critical role, yet receive little credit for the important work they do.

Janelle Orsi is an attorney in Oakland, California who practices “sharing law.” In addition to her law practice, she is executive director of the Sustainable Economies Law Center, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide “education, research, advice, and advocacy for just and resilient economies.” She is also author of “Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy,” a guide for lawyers interested in navigating the emerging field of sharing law. I included her on my recent list of the top ten lawyers in the food movement for offering free advice sessions, or “legal cafes,” for small community-based food and other entrepreneurs through SELC. For more information about Janelle and SELC, visit and follow them on Twitter @JanelleOrsi and @TheSELC.

Continue reading →

How to Stop Deceptive Food Marketers? Take Them to Court

Last week, Monster Beverage filed an unusual lawsuit against the San Francisco City Attorney’s office to stop an attempt to place restrictions on the company’s highly caffeinated and potentially harmful products aimed at youth. This aggressive move is a form of backlash against using the legal system to hold the food and beverage industry’s accountable for deceptive marketing practices.
Continue reading →

Chief Merchant of Death for Philip Morris International Exits Stage Left

Photo of Louis Camilleri by Daniel Acker/ Bloomberg News

By Michele Simon and John Stewart

This week, when tobacco giant Philip Morris International hosts it annual shareholders’ meeting in New York, the company will honor outgoing CEO Louis Camilleri for his years of service. But a look back at Camilleri’s tenure shows a trail and death and destruction unworthy of celebration.

In 2008, parent company Altria Group spun off the international division of Philip Morris to focus more on “emerging markets,” the euphemism corporations use to describe the exploitation of Global South nations. For decades, as the regulatory environment and public sentiment has turned against smoking in the U.S., tobacco corporations have set their sights overseas. As a result, Philip Morris International now derives more revenue from Asia than from the European Union, and nearly 80 percent of tobacco-related deaths occur in the Global South.

Continue reading →

Monsanto Teams up with Congress to Shred the Constitution

Our founding fathers, white-maleness aside, did get a few things right. One of them was the concept of “separation of powers,” to ensure a system of checks and balances among the three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. But a dangerous provision snuck into the budget bill passed last week in Congress upends that system. Continue reading →

Michele Simon’s Upcoming Speaking Events

Hope to see you at one of these venues. To have me speak in your area, contact me here.

New York City
March 20: CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College
Force Fed: How Food Industry Disinformation Undermines Public Health
For details, see PDF flyer.

March 21-23
Consuming Kids Summit: Reclaiming Childhood from Corporate Marketers
Is This Even Legal? Demystifying the Laws on Marketing to Children (panel)
Slowing Down the Clown: Policy Tools to Protect Children from Fast Food in Your Area (workshop)

Southern California
April 9: Urban and Environmental Policy Institute, Occidental College, Los Angeles
Force Fed: Deconstructing Food Industry Lies
Class begins at 1:30pm; Room: Lower Herrick.

June 18-20: 7th Biennial Childhood Obesity Conference, Long Beach
Marketing healthy foods to children: Do the ends justify the means? (panel discussion)

VegNews Editor Attempts to Rewrite History

It’s fair to say that the vegetarian world gave me my start. In 1996, I began volunteering with various groups to promote plant-based eating. I soon discovered Marion Nestle’s work on the politics of the meat and dairy industries and I was hooked. In the early years of doing this work I made numerous friends in the San Francisco area who I still remain close to today. Something about a shared bond over food choices and values that makes for lasting friendships. So it’s with a heavy heart that I write this unusual post, to expose an injustice being done to one of those dear friends: Colleen Holland.

Continue reading →

Will a Federal Compromise on GMO Labeling Trump State Law, Forever?

Recent reports of secret meetings among industry reps and the Food and Drug Adminstration over GMO labeling piqued my interest, mostly because this critical aspect was missing: any effort to label GE foods at the federal level could bring the current grassroots movement to a grinding halt by preventing any stronger local laws from ever being enacted. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Continue reading →

“Pink Slime” Lawsuit May be Frivolous, But Could Chill Speech

To no one’s surprise, Beef Products Inc. (BPI) – maker of the ground beef product that took on the moniker of “pink slime” – filed a defamation lawsuit earlier this month against ABC News and several individuals.  Read rest at Center for Food Safety…

Join Email List

Speaking Requests

Media Requests

Contact Michele Simon:


  • 2016 (4)
  • 2015 (20)
  • 2014 (41)
  • 2013 (67)
  • 2012 (70)
  • 2011 (53)
  • 2010 (49)