Many Americans-especially the poor-face severe hurdles in their attempts to secure the most basic of human needs-food. One reason for this struggle is the tendency of chain supermarkets to provide a limited selection of goods and a lower quality of goods to patrons in less affluent neighborhoods. Healthier items such as soy milks, fresh fish, and lean meats are not present in these stores, and the produce that is present is typically well past the peak of freshness. Yet, if the same patron were to go to another supermarket owned by the same chain--but located in a wealthier neighborhood-she would find a wide selection of healthy foods and fresh produce. What are the poor people who live in the inner cities--who are disproportionately African American and Latino-to do? How can they obtain healthy food against these odds? This Article argues that the actions of the supermarkets are unconscionable, and therefore proposes a federal law that will prevent chain grocery stores from engaging in such practices. The Article first examines the scope of the problem created by these supermarket practices. The Article then explains why current laws are inadequate to address this issue. Finally, the Article proposes that Congress use its authority under the Commerce Clause to enact legislation that would require supermarket chains to carry the same selection and quality of goods at all stores in the same chain.
Eatin' Good? Not in This Neighborhood: A Legal Analysis of Disparities in Food Availability and Quality at Chain Supermarkets in Poverty-Stricken Areas,
Mich. J. Race & L.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjrl/vol14/iss2/2