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Habeas Codfish: Reflections on Food and the Law Hardcover – September 10, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 324 pages
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press; 1st edition (September 10, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0299175103
  • ISBN-13: 978-0299175108
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,045,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Larry Mark MyJewishBooksDotCom on September 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
As the author writes, food is more than nutrients, It is our culture, and thus our laws reflect our cultural attitudes towards food. I picked up this fish-tale of laws by a curator of a mustard museum after I coincidentally attended a mustard festival. Levenson's book requires no pre-knowledge of the law; it provides an exciting, funny, enlightening story of food and our laws. Levenson writes that he toiled at a boring law job until he came across an exciting law case from 1924, in which a man sued a railroad and restaurant chain for requiring diners to wear dinner jackets. Now that was an interesting case (the barbaric diner lost), he thought. It got Levenson on a roll of researching and collecting food laws. The reader is the beneficiary.
The author provides stories and cases on food poisoning; the origins of the USDA FSIS, FTC and FDA; adulteration; advertising claims; and federal regulations defining peanut butter, catsup, fancy and standard ketchup. Also explored are The Delaney Clause, the labeling act, the Lanham Act, the doctrine of privity, the condom in the coke and other stories of foreign objects, fish bone choking cases, and stories about trademarks, such as the case between Planter's Mr. Peanut and Crown Nut's little peanut king. There is a whole chapter on kosher laws, state regulations, and kosher fraud. He explains why restaurant reviews can get around libel laws, why 60 Minutes was sued over an Alar story, and Oprah got in trouble with big beef. A Wisconsin resident, he tells the tale of how a state tried to stop Dairy Queen and margarine from crossing its statelines.
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By Patricia A. Lynch on February 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is an entertaining yet informative delivery of serious food law issues. It prompted discussions of historical events that were relevant to understanding the impact of consumer behavior and the chronology of certain food laws.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A must for foodies and lawyer-types alike, this is a very clever, well-researched examination of something very few of us (foodies OR lawyers) think about
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hear about this book on the Jim Bohannon overnight radio show and felt I had to have it. Was not disappointed, a very interesting book with a lot of fun facts and witty comments. A must buy!
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