In the wake of the 1989 controversy over Alar use on apples, several states enacted laws providing a civil cause of action to producers damaged by false statements disparaging the safety of their perishable food products. Commentators have suggested that these laws are unconstitutional and contrary to the First Amendment's free speech protections. This Comment argues that the majority of state laws either meet or exceed the constitutional protections established by the U.S. Supreme Court's defamation cases. However, these laws are unlikely to be used widely in the future because of their stringent proof requirements and because such suits often create greater public awareness of the disparaging statements the plaintiff seeks to redress.
Lisa D. Gould,
Notes and Comments,
Mad Cows, Offended Emus, and Old Eggs: Perishable Product Disparagement Laws and Free Speech,
73 Wash. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/wlr/vol73/iss4/6