Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Talking to F. Xavier Medina
(Click here for interview in Spanish)

Academic and program director of the Food Systems, Culture and Society program, International Institute of Graduate Studies of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC).
Click here for English translation

Lawrence Busch, "Standards and Society: Recipes for Reality"

The Institute for Food & Agricultural Standards (IFAS) at Michigan State University presents Dr. Lawrence Busch giving a seminar titled, “Standards & Society: Recipes for Reality.”  This event will be held Friday morning, December 11 from 9:00-12:00 in the Kellogg Center, Room 102.  Coffee at 8:30.  Dr. Lawrence Busch is the Professor of Standards and Society, Lancaster University, United Kingdom, and University Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University.

What do apples, laptops, climate change, banking, surgeons, universities, automobiles, information technologies, and health care have in common?  They all involve the design, implementation, and enforcement of standards.  At first glance these standards appear to be technical details that, while essential, are of concern only to specialists.  But standards are also a form of power – the power to set the rules we must follow, or options among which we must choose.  Until a century ago, most standards were used to standardize, to make things the same.  Today, partly in response to the shift to neoliberal, market-based governance, standards are used strategically by nations, companies, and private voluntary organizations.  They are used in conflicting ways to differentiate among products, processes, and people. 

This workshop will provide an overview of Dr. Lawrence Busch’s recent work on standards, along with opportunities for discussion and more in-depth engagement with a number of IFAS researchers. Larry’s forthcoming book “shows us how standards are recipes for reality that may lead us down another road to serfdom or enhance democracy and social justice.”  The workshop will begin with a presentation from Dr. Busch, summarizing some key elements of the book. After the break, short reaction presentations on the manuscript’s development of links to ethics and to social justice will kick off an additional hour of discussion and exploration of key themes. 

Dr. Busch has promised that he will not sing.

Funds for this workshop have been provided by the W. K. Chair in Agricultural, Food and Community Ethics at Michigan State University. There is no fee for attendance, but space is limited. Please RSVP to Mrs. Amy Rusnell, Institute for Food and Agricultural Standards, MSU:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sustainability, Discounting and Cooperation: The Need for New Institutions

Simon A. Levin will present the Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture on Thursday, December 10, 2009 at 3:30 pm. The seminar is titled, "Sustainability, Discounting and Cooperation: The Need for New Institutions," and is located in the Michigan State University, Packaging School Building, PAC 100 (Auditorium). Reception follows.
Dr. Levin is an ecologist and environmental scientist. He is the George M. Moffett Professor of Biology in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. Dr. Levin has received numerous highly prestigious honors and awards, such as membership of the National Academy of Sciences, Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences, Dr A. H. Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences, first Okubo Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Institute of Biological Sciences. He is also receiving an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science from Michigan State University on December 11th.
The Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture Series is organized by the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability (, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife with support from the National Science Foundation; Office of the President; Office of the Provost; Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies; Graduate School; Environ-mental Science and Policy Program; College of Agricultural and Natural Resources; Michigan Agricultural Experimental Station; Center for Water Sciences; Sustainable Michigan Endowed Project; Science, Technology, Environment, and Public Policy Specialization; and Elton R. Smith Endowment.

Trade and the Environment

John Hoehn will present the seminar at the Agricultural, Food, & Resource Economics (AFRE) Brown Bag at Michigan State University, Tuesday, December 1st, Noon - 1:00pm, 75 Agriculture Hall.  The seminar is titled, “Trade and the Environment.”

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Google legal research is free!

Google launched a free online case law search system available through Google Scholar (select scholar as search option, then legal cases). Of course, it's not LEXIS or Westlaw, but it is surprisingly comprehensive and robust. Every citation is hyperlinked to the full text of the opinion cited. It looks like a great tool for preliminary research. One announcement is here.

Food Safety, Security and Sources

A Consumer Issues Conference was held September 24 & 25, 2009, titled, “Food Safety, Security and Sources: A Recipe for Tough Times” at the

University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming. Audio recordings from Conference sessions are available here and on the University of Wyoming’s iTunes U section (reached by going here > public access > Cooperative Extension Service).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Are Cows Comfortable Being Milked by Robots?

Jackie Jacobs will present a seminar titled "Automatic Milking Systems Could be the Future of Milking for North American Dairy Farms:  But are Cows Comfortable Being Milked by Robots?" in 1310 Anthony Hall, Michigan State University, at 12:40 pm on Thursday, November 19. Come early (12:30) as snacks will be provided.  All are welcome.

Ensuring Global Food Safety

Ensuring Global Food Safety: Exploring Global Harmonization, edited by Christine E. Boisrobert et al., is now published. Professor Fortin, Director of the Institute for Food Laws & Regulations (IFLR), wrote a chapter in the book. You can find out more here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Using Loopholes to Reveal the Marginal Cost of Regulation

Soren Anderson will present the seminar at the Agricultural, Food, & Resource Economics (AFRE) Brown Bag at Michigan State University, Tuesday, November 17th, Noon - 1:00pm, 75 Agriculture Hall.  The seminar is titled, “Using Loopholes to Reveal the Marginal Cost of Regulation: The Case of Fuel-Economy Standards”

Researchers in economics sought for "Fiscal Federalism" and "Cities and Innovation"

At IEB (Institut d’Economia de Barcelona), the research programs “Fiscal Federalism” (Heads: Albert Solé-Ollé & Núria Bosch-Roca) and “Cities and Innovation” (Heads: Prof. Elisabet Viladecans-Marsal & Prof. José García-Quevedo) at the IEB, we are seeking 3 junior researchers in economics.  The concrete tasks associated to the positions are: (i) Writing and publishing her own research papers; (ii) Support in the management of the IEB’s events and publications; (iii) A limited amount of teaching. Web Site:

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Obama in Asia: The First Pacific President Attends APEC Summit

From Obama Foodorama, a nice report on President Obama’s arrival last night in Singapore and attendance at the Gala Dinner at the APEC Summit. “Last night, President ending leaders were given traditional garb for the dinner, and had a choice between red shirts and blue. President Obama, of course, chose blue. APEC is the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, and has 21 member countries. One of the primary goals of this week's meeting is the development of a region-wide free trade area, which would account for half the world's imports and exports if it becomes a reality. During meetings over the past few days, leaders have been discussing ending all restrictions on food trade, which is a huge percentage of the economic pie. It's also something that is problematic, in part due to food safety problems . . .”

Above, at dinner: President Obama with, from left, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Japan's Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, China's President Hu Jintao, New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key, Mexico's President Felipe Calderon

Friday, November 06, 2009

Making it in Michigan conference

The third annual Making It in Michigan Conference, hosted by the Michigan State University Product Center, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Nov. 11 at the Lansing Center, 333 E. Michigan Avenue, Lansing.


Founded in 2003, the MSU Product Center helps Michigan entrepreneurs develop and commercialize high-value, consumer-responsive products and businesses in the agriculture, natural resources and bioeconomy sectors. The center’s statewide network of innovation counselors provides business counseling support to Michigan residents interested in starting or expanding a business or product line

This is how Europe operates when it comes to food safety

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has published an EU Food Safety Almanac, which briefly describes the state structures of food and feed safety in 30 European states. "Smooth cooperation between the state players in Europe strengthens food safety. If the stakeholders and structures in the European countries are known to all those concerned, then we will be able to work together even more effectively and avoid the duplication of work", says Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel.

The EU Food Safety Almanac (German and English) can be downloaded free-of-charge here on the BfR website.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Seminar: "The Partnership Solution to the Common Property Problem: An Experimental Test of the Theory"

Stephen Salant, Professor of Economics, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, University of Michigan, will be speaking on Friday, November 6, 2009, 3:30-5:00 pm, in the Koo Room, Marshall-Adams Hall, Michigan State University. The title of his talk is  "The Partnership Solution to the Common Property Problem: An Experimental Test of the Theory”.



Thesis Defense: "The acute effects of nutrition and exercise on cognitive function and brain activation in an aging population"

On Tuesday, November 3rd, Natalie Stein will present her thesis defense entitled, “The acute effects of nutrition and exercise on cognitive function and brain activation in an aging population,” at 12:40 pm in room 206 Trout Food Science and Human Nutrition.

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