Cover image for Habeas codfish : reflections on food and the law
Habeas codfish : reflections on food and the law
Levenson, Barry M.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Madison, Wis. : University of Wisconsin Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xvii, 263 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Assault with a breadly weapon -- Big beef supreme -- Nutrition facts, nutrition fictions -- Food fight -- Java jurisprudence -- Bones of contention -- The legacy of Mr. Peanut -- McBully -- Ladle and slander -- From bad apples to mad cows -- It's not nice to defraud mother nature! -- Not so strictly kosher -- Cruel and unusual condiments -- Just desserts -- The final verdict.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
KF3875.A7 L48 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
KF3875.A7 L48 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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    From the McDonald's hot coffee case to the cattle ranchers' beef with Oprah Winfrey, from the old English "Assize of Bread" to current nutrition labeling laws, what we eat and how we eat are shaped as much by legal regulations as by personal taste. Barry M. Levenson, the curator of the world-famous (really!) Mount Horeb Mustard Museum and a self-proclaimed "recovering lawyer," offers in Habeas Codfish an entertaining and expert overview of the frustrating, frightening, and funny intersections of food and the law.
    Discover how Mr. Peanut shaped the law of trademark infringement for the entire food industry. Consider the plight of the restaurant owner besmirched by a journalist's negative review. Find out how traditional Jewish laws of kashrut ran afoul of the First Amendment. Prison meals, butter vs. margarine, definitions of organic food, undercover ABC reporters at the Food Lion, the Massachusetts Supreme Court case that saved fish chowder, even recipes--it's all in here, so tuck in!

Author Notes

Barry M. Levenson is the curator and CMO (Chief Mustard Officer) of the Mount Horeb Mustard Museum in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, where he has amassed the world's largest collection of mustards. Before his life as the world's foremost mustard authority, he was an assistant attorney general for the State of Wisconsin. He argued dozens of cases before the Wisconsin Supreme Court and is undoubtedly the only lawyer to have appeared before the United States Supreme Court with a jar of mustard in his pocket.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

The author of this meaty collection of essays about legal cases involving food is not only an attorney but also Chief Mustard Officer of Wisconsin's Mount Horeb Mustard Museum. His book, then, represents the melding of two passions, law and food. It's carefully presented, entertaining, and downright fascinating. Who would have thought food could play such a central role in so many legal battles? Although the book details plenty of cases involving food that was too hot or infested with inappropriate lifeforms, it also touches on some more complex issues. What, for instance, is the legal definition of a meal? Or, when the inventor of a particular dish sells the recipe to someone else but then decides to market the dish, who has the legal right to use the dish's famous name? There's also the story of a woman who sued a restaurant because it did not sell a breakfast advertised as "available at participating stores." She sued for two-billion dollars. (Well, she was hungry!) A thoroughly enjoyable and endlessly eyeopening book. --David Pitt

Table of Contents

Illustrationsp. ix
Prefacep. xi
1 Assault with a Breadly Weaponp. 3
2 Big Beef Supremep. 17
3 Nutrition Facts, Nutrition Fictions: Thou Shalt Not Commit Adulteration!p. 32
4 Food Fight: A Tale of Two Pizzasp. 56
5 Java Jurisprudencep. 68
6 Bones of Contentionp. 89
7 The Legacy of Mr. Peanutp. 105
8 McBullyp. 123
9 Ladle and Slanderp. 142
10 From Bad Apples to Mad Cowsp. 158
11 It's Not Nice to Defraud Mother Nature!p. 168
12 Not So Strictly Kosherp. 184
13 Cruel and Unusual Condiments: Food in Prisonp. 199
14 Just Dessertsp. 217
15 The Final Verdictp. 232
Notesp. 243
Warning and Disclaimerp. 257
Legal Cases Citedp. 259