In recent years, controversies regarding 3D printing have been on the rise, with questions broadly raised over its regulation and intellectual property. Yet, legal scholars have overlooked the legal issues arising specifically from 3D-printed food. This Article fills this gap as the first to look at the issues surrounding 3D-printed food.
The 3D printer will soon be another kitchen appliance. 3D printers can now print food, ranging from ordinary meal to personalized nutrition to edible growth (i.e. growable food). These new possibilities bring along new challenges as well. Two major issues will soon face 3D- printed food: (i) safety and (ii) labeling. This Article explores these two issues in depth.An earlier piece by Tran on bioprinting was noted here.
In his 2016 article Tran goes on to state
Under safety, short-term consumption of 3D-printed food can result in food poisoning, whereas long-term modification of eating habit can result in permanent changes in the human body. For short-term consumption, there are two food-poisoning scenarios: (1) one or only a few individuals were poisoned from consuming 3D-printed food, or (2) a large number of people were poisoned. Furthermore, long-term modification of eating habits could lead to permanent changes in the human body in order to adapt to this new diet of consuming just strictly 3D-printed food. Labeling would likely face similar issues as the current GMO labeling debate. For instance, regardless whether 3D-printed food is safe or not and assuming consumers cannot easily discern their food’s origin, do the consumers have the right to know where their food comes from? Other labeling issues could include imitation food and economic adulteration (i.e. misleading consumers).
This Article fleshes out these labeling issues through four scenarios: (1) a big corporation foodprints the majority of the package or the entire food package to sell to the mass population, (2) a big corporation foodprints only a small portion of the packaged food to sell to the mass population, (3) a groceries store foodprints sushi on sight before packaging it and selling to the local community, (4) an individual foodprints a meal at home.
This Article proceeds in three parts. Part I discuses foodprinting’s background, implications and ramifications. Part II.A covers the safety issues, whereas Part II.B explores the labeling issues. Part III briefly concludes.'Intellectual Property and 3D Printing: A Case Study on 3D Chocolate Printing' by Phoebe H. Li, Stephen Mellor, James Griffin, Charlotte Waelde, Liang Hao and Richard Everson in (2014) 9(4) Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice 322-332 commented
3D printing, also called Additive Manufacturing (AM), is a disruptive technology which some have argued has the potential to generate considerable economic and environmental benefits. However, and in order to realise the benefits of 3D printing, thought has to be given to the legal frameworks that support the manufacturing process from design to consumption. There are many areas of law that are relevant to this process including product liability, health and safety and environmental law. The one that will be considered in this paper is that of copyright, a branch of the law of intellectual property (IP). This paper examines 3D printing and selected copyright implications using a case study around the design and manufacture of three-dimensional chocolate products. This case study has been chosen because technology to print three-dimensional chocolates was designed and developed by Dr Liang Hao, a researcher at the University of Exeter. It also brings with it some particular challenges for the law of copyright around the co-creation process that it employs in the design of the chocolate products. The focus will be on three areas of the law of copyright, chosen because they lie at the heart of the chocolate business model, and because they are illustrative of just some of the challenges that are faced by both the law and 3D printing in responding to this new technology.h