Monday, December 2, 2013

Canadian Department of Environment Will Allow for Sale of GE Salmon Eggs

On November 23, 2013, the Canadian Department of the Environment released a Significant New Activity Notice that, as long as the specified requirements under the Notice are met, companies can sell genetically engineered (GE) salmon eggs to hatcheries and other buyers. The Significant New Activity Notice is not an endorsement of the product, however, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada still need to approve the GE eggs before they can be sold. According to press releases, the FDA is expected to give its approval based on previous statements concerning the lack of environmental impact of AquaBounty’s GE fish. AquaBounty is the producer of AquAdvantage GE salmon eggs and fish in Canada. AquaBounty also owns the only GE salmon growing facility in the world so far.


For more information on AquaBounty and their product, AquAdvantage, please see their website.

Written by Sarah L. Doyle - Research Assistant
The Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center
@PSUAgLawCenter
December 2, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

COOL Six Month Industry Educational “Grace Period” Concludes

On November 23, 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Marketing Service Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) six month industry education and outreach program established within the 2013 Final Rule has concluded. The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) conducted the program, as well as similar programs after the release of the 2008 Interim Final Rule and the 2009 Final Rule. The program was a constructive grace period to allow industries to assimilate to the new rule without penalty. AMS determined that this program would ensure that the industries effectively and rationally implement the final rule. Additionally, AMS is allowing the existing stock of muscle cut covered commodities processed and labeled before May 23, 2013 to clear the system as long as they are already in the market and in compliance with the 2009 COOL rule. AMS hopes that these provisions will “prevent retailer and supplier confusion and help alleviate some of the economic burden on regulated entities.” Lastly, AMS will allow products to be sold with less specific origin information as long as retail establishments provide the more specific information via other means such as signs. This method of informing consumers will be allowed until existing labeling and packaging materials have been completely used. For more information about COOL and the grace periods and exceptions that are in place, please see the Federal Register.

The COOL rule became mandatory on May 23, 2013, and requires retailers to label muscle cut covered commodities, some seafood, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, some nuts, and ginseng with information regarding the source of the product.

For more information about COOL, please see our previous blog post
Written by Sarah L. Doyle - Research Assistant
The Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center
@PSUAgLawCenter
November 25, 2013

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Illinois Appellate Court Finds Livestock Odors Are Not Traditional Environmental Pollution for Purposes of Insurance Coverage

On November 13, 2013, the Appellate Court of Illinois for the Fourth District held that odor allegedly generated by Hilltop View LLC’s swine facility did not constitute “traditional environmental pollution” as defined by Country Mutual Life Insurance in its policies at issue in the lawsuit.  Traditional environmental pollution is excluded from Country Mutual’s coverage because Country Mutual has an “absolute pollution exclusion” policy. Since livestock odors are not traditional environmental pollution, Country Mutual will not be able to deny coverage to its policy holders for lawsuits involving this type of odor nuisance. The court also held, however, that Country Mutual does not have to defend Hilltop in an odor nuisance claim because Country Mutual still has other potential coverage defenses that are pending in a declaratory judgment.


For the court’s opinion please see the Illinois Court’s website.

Written by Sarah L. Doyle - Research Assistant
The Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center
@PSUAgLawCenter
November 21, 2013

Pennsylvania Livery Providers Lien Bill Passes Senate, Referred to House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee

On November 19, the Pennsylvania Senate approved SB 995 in an unanimous vote of 49-0.  The bill was then moved on to the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

SB 995, the “Pennsylvania Livery Providers Fair Lien Act” establishes the requirements for livery provider liens which allows for an owner of a boarding stable to attach a lien to a horse which is left for the stable owner to perform labor upon, board, furnish services, supplies or provide materials for, at the request or consent of the owner of the horse.  The lien gives the stable owner the right to detain the horse to secure payment.  The lien attaches to a horse the day it is placed in the stable owner’s care for boarding or other labor in a statement of the amount due to the stable owner for the care of the horse and a description of the horse to which the lien is attached.  Liens arising under the Pennsylvania Livery Providers Fair Lien Act would be deemed an agricultural lien subject to 13 P.A.C.S. Div. 9.

The text of the bill, accompanying memo, and status can be found on the Pennsylvania legislature’s website.

Written by Alyssa Looney – Research Assistant
The Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center
@PSUAgLawCenter
November 20, 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

EPA Proposes a Reduction in the Advanced Biofuel Standards for 2014 and a Extension of the 2013 Biomass Diesel Standards for 2014 and 2015.

On November 15th, The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed a proposed rule that sets the standards for the Renewable Fuel Standard Program (RFS) program for the 2014 renewable fuel standard and the 2015 biomass diesel volume.  Under the Clean Air Act (CAA) and the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) EPA must establish the annual standards for the RFS each year. 

The reduction in biofuel standards is a result of overall gasoline consumption in the United States being less than anticipated when Congress established the program in 2007 and the EPA’s updated production projections, which are informed by engagement with industry and assessment of the biofuels market. 
The EPA plans on submitting the proposed rule for publication in the Federal Register (FR) soon.   Once the proposal is published in the Federal Register, it will be open to a 60 day public comment period.

Click here to read a copy of the proposed rule.


Click here to read the fact sheet explaining the proposed rule. 

Written by Joseph Negaard - Research Assistant
The Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center
@PSUAgLawCenter
November 19, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

New Hampshire GMO Labeling Bill Rejected by House Committee but Will Still be Voted on by House

On November 6, the New Hampshire House Environment and Agriculture Committee in a 12-8 vote recommended that the full House reject HB 0660 which would require the labeling of food products containing genetically modified organisms.  The bill was primarily opposed by Republican committee members.  The bill will go to the full House in January for a floor vote.

Under HB 0660, products produced with genetic engineering will be deemed misbranded if not labeled as such.  The bill would also require the attorney general to publish on the AG website a list of raw agricultural commodities known to be genetically engineered.  HB 0660 would require the commissioner of agriculture, markets and foods to adopt rules establishing best practices for farmers who raise GM crops.

Media sources report that passing the bill is instrumental in the enactment of Maine’s GMO labeling law which requires five other contiguous state pass similar labeling laws before it can go into effect.

For more information on the bill, visit the New Hampshire House of Representatives website for the full text of the bill, status, and docket.

Written by Alyssa Looney – Research Assistant
The Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center
@PSUAgLawCenter
November 18, 2013

PA Senate Approves Bill Removing Certain Restrictions on Potato Packaging Requirements

On November 12, 2013, the PA Senate passed SB 1131 to remove restrictions on potato packaging in Pennsylvania. The bill eliminates the restriction requiring a certain weight per container on potato packages under three pounds. For containers over three pounds, packages must meet the required net avoirdupois weights listed in the bill.

The bill has been sent to the House Agriculture Committee for review.


For the history of the bill, please see the PA General Assembly’s website.

Written by Sarah L. Doyle - Research Assistant
The Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center
@PSUAgLawCenter
November 18, 2013