Monday, July 29, 2019

Food Fight

Yesterday's New York Times contained an article on the legal battles surrounding the labeling of plant-based food products. As meatless patties like the Impossible™ Burger and Beyond Burger™ continue their gains in popularity, lobbying groups for the beef industry have ramped up efforts to block the use of certain words in the products' labeling through legislation. A number of states already have passed laws that regulate whether vegan, vegetarian, or lab-grown meat products can use terms like "meat," "burger," or "sausage." An NPR story rounds up the existing state laws. One proposed bill, still pending in the Washington state legislature, would make the production and sale of lab-grown meat a misdemeanor if enacted.

Why the concern? Lawmakers cite the potential for consumer confusion, which food labeling laws are designed to prevent. Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations contains hundreds of definitions of various food products, specifying their contents and labeling requirements. But as noted in the Times article, the beef industry also fears the potential market share gains by alternative burgers that have been enjoyed by alternative milk products, such as soy milk and almond milk. Once retail stores began placing alternative milks near dairy products, their sales skyrocketed; non-dairy milks now comprise 13% of the milk market share. Plant-based "meat" is currently 1% of the meat market share, but that number would likely similarly rise.

Plant-based food producers are fighting back against the labeling restrictions. Last week, the makers of Tofurky and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Arkansas. Turtle Island Foods v. Soman challenges Arkansas's law as violating First Amendment protections on commercial speech. (The full text of the complaint is available on the ACLU website.)

To learn more about this fascinating area of law, try a subject search of the Duke Libraries Catalog for "Food law and legislation – United States." You’ll find titles like Food Regulation: Law, Science, Policy, and Practice (KF3875 .F67 2017 & online) and the treatise Food and Drug Administration, 4th ed. (KF3871 .O733 & online in Westlaw). For help with locating these or other food law resources, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Sources for CRS Reports

Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports, produced by a nonpartisan office within the Library of Congress, have long been a valuable research resource. For a long time, though, their access was limited to the members of Congress who requested the research, constituents who requested copies via their congressperson, and those with access through commercial databases or publishers.

CRS products include the well-known comprehensive research reports as well as shorter "In Focus" documents (providing a brief overview of a topic), "Legal Sidebars" (briefly examining legal developments), and "Insights" (analyzing current topics of interest to members of Congress). Researchers at Duke have several options for locating CRS products.
  • By law, CRS reports are now posted to the free Congressional Research Service page on Users can search for a particular topic, or list all available documents by clicking the search button with no terms in the box. Currently, more than 6,500 documents are included, mostly from the last two years but with selected historical coverage.
  • is a free website containing publicly-available reports as well as other CRS product series. Currently, the site contains more than 15,000 documents. A unique feature of this site is the ability to "redline" changes to documents with the Revision History sidebar. For example, a recent In Brief publication on Regular Vetoes and Pocket Vetoes illustrates that the majority of changes since 2005 have been quite minor, but that the most recent revision last week changed 27% of the content from the previous version, mostly related to the change in Presidential administration.
  • The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) has long maintained an online archive of CRS reports on various topics. This site also includes CRS annual reports back to FY1995, which predate the collection on the Library of Congress's own page (back to 2009). Annual reports often include a list of products prepared in that fiscal year, providing a helpful inventory of CRS materials for that time frame.
  • University of North Texas Digital Library also maintains a CRS report collection. This collection contains more than 41,500 items, dating back to the 1960s.
  • The ProQuest Congressional database, available to current members of the Duke University community, includes the full text of selected CRS reports and other products from 1916-present.
For help with locating the full text of a Congressional Research Service publication, check out the above resources or Ask a Librarian.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Digital Detoxing

How many email addresses do you have?

More importantly, how many email addresses have you forgotten about?

In June, Lifehacker posted a helpful guide, How to Find and Delete Your Old Email Addresses. Echoing concerns raised recently by Consumer Reports, the posts noted that dormant email accounts present a serious security vulnerability – especially if you used them as password recovery addresses for linked services or other, more valuable email accounts.

Both posts detail some steps to locate and delete unwanted, dormant email addresses. A few key tips to identify past addresses to potentially shutter:
  • Conduct a web search for your known usernames and email addresses.
  • View the connected email accounts on your social media services (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) by accessing your Settings.
  • Check the secondary "password recovery" accounts listed on your primary email account and other online services.
  • Review any saved logins in your web browsers or password manager programs to identify potential accounts to close.
Not sure you captured all of the forgotten email addresses? Current members of the Duke Law community may also want to check their listing in Lexis Advance's Public Records & Find a Person (Nationwide) database, which includes email addresses associated with a particular person at the bottom of each result. If you've ever used a "burner" account to sign up for certain websites, the email address will likely show up there.

While you'll want to hold on to at least a few email accounts, you can likely reduce your associated emails to an "official" work/school address, a primary personal account, and a backup account that you use for services that are likely to generate unwanted spam.

You can take additional steps to secure the email accounts that you choose to keep. Current Duke University students, faculty, and staff are eligible for a free account to LastPass Premium, a password manager service that generates and stores strong passwords to your various online accounts (leaving you with only one master password to remember). Multi-factor authentication, required or recommended for many Duke services, is also an option on most email providers, and worth adding to the accounts you choose to keep.

For more online security advice, check out the Duke OIT Security page or consult with the Law School Academic Technologies Help Desk staff.