Statement of Principles
FoodSpeak is a coalition of civil
liberty, health, environmental, public interest, media, and law groups dedicated to
ensuring freedom of expression concerning food and food safety. The Coalition opposes
"food disparagement" or "veggie-libel" laws, existing or proposed,
insofar as they inhibit public discussion protected by the First Amendment and
state-constitutional free speech guarantees.
Since 1989, the food and chemical
industries have mounted a concerted campaign to regulate public discussion about food and
food safety. Between 1991 and 1997 some 13 states have enacted food disparagement laws,
and similar laws are pending in other states as well. Despite the victory for the
defendants in the Texas disparagement suit brought against Oprah Winfrey, Howard Lyman,
and others, the constitutionality of those laws was not resolved. Such suits continue to
be brought, to the detriment of free speech and fully informed public decision-making.
While the FoodSpeak coalition does not endorse the malicious or reckless defamation of
persons or corporations, it does oppose all causes of action that put a price on public
policy debate by exposing critics to costly litigation.
The FoodSpeak Coalition believes that the best judgments about food, food safety, and other things that matter are more likely to gained from a truly diverse exchange of public opinions than through defamation lawsuits.