Whether you are a farmer, food truck owner, or just a food lover, government regulations in the food industry can prevent you from making your own decisions. At an AEI event on Thursday, Culture of Competition scholar Timothy P. Carney moderated a discussion among a panel of legal experts on food policy.
Doug Povich, founding member of the Food Truck Association of Metropolitan Washington and owner of the Red Hook Lobster Pound food truck, discussed the rules city officials have created to crowd him and other food truck owners out the market. However, he drew a sharp distinction between regulations that ensure health and safety and those that simply prevent new competitors from challenging established restaurants.
Emily Broad Leib, director of Harvard Law School's Food Law and Policy Clinic, highlighted the cronyism present in organic food industry regulation. Big corporations buy influence in Washington to dominate the market, and small farmers who do not have legal knowledge or funds to pay for lobbyists cannot meet the regulatory burdens placed on them.
Baylen J. Linnekin, executive director of Keep Food Legal, examined the heavy hand of big farm lobbyists in regulation and offered recommendations to encourage market competition that benefits consumers.
If you like your food local, organic, or from a truck, government regulation might be your biggest obstacle. American restaurants lobby to choke off food trucks, and federal regulation of food safety leads to more consolidation in the industry. Moreover, farmers markets struggle to survive under the heavy hand of government.
What if food safety regulation is not about limiting the germs in our dinner, but is rather about limiting competition in America’s food industry? What if federal and local rules actually protect incumbent businesses instead of consumers?
Join us for a panel discussion about food competition, regulation, and safety catered by the BBQ Bus food truck.
This event is part of AEI’s Culture of Competition Project.
If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.