Food Disparagement Laws Essay

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Food Disparagement Laws

Food Disparagement Law or "Veggie Libel Law" describes the new libel laws that impose penalties on anyone who comments about perishable food products in a manner deemed inconsistent with "reasonable or reliable scientific inquiry." 
Food disparagement laws began cropping up in the early 1990's, after a consumer scare over the pesticide Alar, a chemical used to lengthen the time that apples ripen on trees. In 1989, the CBD news program "60 Minutes" broadcast a report that said Alar could cause cancer. Washington State apple growers filed a defamation lawsuit, contending they lost $100 million in a consumer panic after the story aired. The suit, however, was dismissed on grounds that the alleged
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On April 16th 1996, Oprah aired a show titled "Dangerous Foods." On this particular show she had guest speaker, Howard Lyman, a vegetarian activist and an official with the Humane Society of the United States, speak on Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) otherwise known as "mad cow" disease. During the show, Howard Lyman said "mad cow" disease in the United States "absolutely" could rival AIDS as an epidemic. In addition, he said it already is rampant among cattle in America. After hearing some of Lyman's statements, Ms. Winfrey responded: "It has stopped me cold from eating another hamburger. I'm stopped!" After the broadcast, cattle prices plummeted to near ten-year lows.
"Mad Cow" disease or BSE has never been detected in the United States. No definitive links have been found between BSE and a human form of the illness.
Paul Engler, owner of Cactus Feeders Inc. in Amarillo, Texas, and other local cattlemen were so incensed by the program that they filed a lawsuit, claiming more than $12 million in losses.
The parties include Paul Engler and his company, Cactus Feeders Inc.; Texas Beef Group; Maltese Cross Cattle Company; Bravo Cattle Company; Alpha 3 Cattle Company; and Dripping Springs Inc. on the plaintiff side and Oprah Winfrey; Harpo Productions Inc.; and Howard Lyman on the defendant side.
The Nature of the Lawsuit results from the disparaging,
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