Resnick Program for Food Law & Policy

Resnick Fellow Examines Regulation of Antibiotics in Agriculture in UCLA Law Review Article

Emilie Aguirre, until recently an academic fellow in the Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law, has published a probing article in the UCLA Law Review, examining the threat of antibiotic resistance in agriculture and proposing a system where local laws inform needed national legislation to regulate antibiotics in food. The article, “Contagion Without Relief: Democratic Experimentalism and Regulating the Use of Antibiotics in Food-Producing Animals,” 64 UCLA L. Rev. 550 (2017), appears in the May 2017 issue of the UCLA Law Review.

Aguirre examines California’s groundbreaking law that bans the use of routine, low-dose antibiotics that are given to food-producing animals to increase their growth and prevent disease in unsanitary conditions and that breed antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The resistant bacteria bred in animals are transferred to humans and reduce the efficacy of antibiotic drugs. How to efficiently and cost-effectively reduce their use remains unclear for legislators.

Aguirre proposes applying democratic experimentalism, “a process of developing law and policies in which central institutions delegate authority to subnational jurisdictions to pursue generally declared goals.” She argues that democratic experimentalism should be utilized so that California’s law may serve as a model for other states and, eventually, a foundational block of a national scheme whereby the federal government will curb this “serious threat to public health” in the United States.

Aguirre served as an academic fellow with the Resnick Program until 2017. She is now pursuing a Ph.D. degree in Health Policy and Management at Harvard University. While she was at UCLA Law, Aguirre was honored as one of the UC Global Food Initiative’s “30 Under 30” for her work on improving the food system.