Since our earliest ancestors’ desire for a better hunting weapon to procure food or a better storage facility to avoid spoilage, food safety and security has shaped human social and technological evolution like no other essential element. The need to procure food has shaped our civilization since the first human graced our planet. Food continues to be a pivotal force in humankind’s saga for life and death. Yet, despite stratospheric progress in scientific application surrounding food, food security and safety for all citizens continues to elude mankind. Why do some enjoy a feast, while others suffer in famine? This essay will consider this very disturbing characteristic of human civilization from and American legal perspective. The critical place of food in the continuation of human existence manifests itself in countless forms of human endeavors that animate mankind’s quest for food security. To many, within their sociological context, food is also sacred and sublime. Witnessed through the behavioral construct of many cultures, food is revered—even offered to gods and goddesses prior to consumption. Yet, as the false promise of food security ushered in an era of advanced biotechnology applications for food generation, food security has virtually disappeared into the labyrinth of mass corporation. Despite unprecedented scientific advancement and technological sophistication, safety and security continues to elude man’s quest for food. Even the uber-advanced Western civilization suffers from this paradox. This essay attempts to explain this paradox by examining food security and safety in the U.S. through two distinct legal paradigms: biotechnology regulation and intellectual property law. With this objective in mind, I will make some observations related to food safety and security in the U.S. in Section II. This leads to a discussion of the regulatory landscape of biotechnology seeds in Section III, where I identify the regulatory framework’s fragmented status and the cause of inertia within the current system. In Section IV, I make some further observations about the current patent framework’s contribution to the evolving menace of transgenic pollution, paving the way for a peek at the microcosm represented by the pending Supreme Court case of Bowman v. Monsanto in Section V. In Section VI, I offer commentary on a much less discussed narrative for food law in the U.S.—one which recognizes the linkages between and weaknesses of the two frameworks. I conclude, in Section VII, by noting that at the heart of food security problem in America is the missing recognition of fundamental human rights for all individuals, which, when taken in conjunction with the existing legal modalities provides a better interpretation of food law. This illumination can then he used to frame the dialogue surrounding the future of food safety and security in the U.S.
Food Safety and Security in the Monsanto Era: Peering Through the Lens of a Rights Paradigm Against an Onslaught of Corporate Domination,
Me. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.mainelaw.maine.edu/mlr/vol65/iss2/8