Michael T. Roberts is the founding Executive Director of the Resnick Center for Food Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law. He is well versed in a broad range of legal and policy issues from farm to fork in local, national, and global food supply systems. He has authored the first major treatise on food law, titled, Food Law in the United States, published by Cambridge University Press. He is also co-editor of Food Law & Policy, a new casebook published by Wolters Kluwer. He has also written several other chapters, articles, and papers on food law topics.
Roberts is actively involved in the development of food law and policy. He has lectured on food-law subjects at law schools and conferences in a number of countries, including the U.S., China, Korea, United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, Spain, Romania, and Russia. He is a Research Fellow for Renmin University School of Law’s Center for Coordination and Innovation for Food Safety. He is an Adjunct Professor of Law for East China University of Science and Technology (Shanghai), where he lectures annually on food law topics.
Roberts is particularly interested in the global governance of food and recently led the Resnick Center into a partnership with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on a series of research and advisory initiatives to confront global food security, nutrition, safety, and quality. Roberts is also very involved in the development of the history of food law and is working on a number of projects to this end and in the regulation of food and innovation.
In addition to working with the Advisory Board for the Resnick Center, Roberts serves on various boards related to food law and policy. He is member of the Board of Directors for the newly established non-profit, Feed the Truth organization. He is also a founding board member and historian for the Academy for Food Law and Policy and on the advisory board for the World Food Law Institute.
Roberts entered the field of food law when, in 2000, he left his law practice and enrolled in the LL.M. program on agricultural law at the University of Arkansas School of Law, the only such program in the U.S. Since then, Roberts has engaged in a variety of professional capacities related to food law and policy. A few years after completing the LL.M. program, he was invited to join the University of Arkansas School of Law as a Research Professor of Law and as the Director of the National Agricultural Law Center, where he taught food law and policy and founded the law school's Journal of Food Law and Policy. He is the former first chair of the Lex Mundi (world's largest association of private law firms) international Agribusiness practice group. Roberts also was of counsel in Washington D.C. with Venable LLP, as a member of the firm's food and agricultural law practice group, and special counsel to the Roll Global farming and food companies headquartered in Los Angeles, where he was responsible for global food regulation, trade, and public policy. He was also a visiting scholar and consultant to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome.
Roberts teaches two courses at UCLA Law: Introduction to Food Law and Policy (for second and third year law students) and Historical Perspective: The Role of Law in the Pursuit of a Moral Food System (a “modes” class for first year law students). He has also been instrumental in the organization of a food studies certificate graduate program at UCLA and was the co-instructor of the program’s Introduction to Food Studies course.