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Cover for Habeas Codfish

Habeas Codfish

Reflections on Food and the Law

Barry M. Levenson


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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!

Praise For Habeas Codfish: Reflections on Food and the Law

"Levenson has a demonstrated knack for writing in a conversational, witty tone that effectively keeps this reading light, even as he lays out complex issues ranging from copyright laws to libel."—Lisa Wolff, associate editor of Gourmet News

"Much more fun than having dinner with your lawyer!"—David Rosengarten, host of the Food Network’s Taste program

University of Wisconsin Press, 9780299175108, 324pp.

Publication Date: August 17, 2001

About the Author

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.