Written by M. Sean High – Staff Attorney
The following information is an update of recent, local, state, national, and international legal developments relevant to agriculture:
Labeling: FDA Revises Nutritional Labels
On May 20, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an unpublished notice in the Federal Register regarding revisions to the regulations governing nutritional and supplemental facts labels (2016-11867). According to the pre-publication final rule, the amendment “updates the list of nutrients that are required or permitted to be declared; provides updated Daily Reference Values and Reference Daily Intake values that are based on current dietary recommendations from consensus reports; amends requirements for foods represented or purported to be specifically for children under the age of 4 years and pregnant and lactating women and establishes nutrient reference values specifically for these population subgroups; and revises the format and appearance of the Nutrition Facts label.” The final rule is scheduled for publication on May 27, 2016, and becomes effective on July 26, 2016.
Labor: DOL Finalizes “White Collar” Overtime Regulations
On May 23, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) Hour and Wage Division published notice in the Federal Register of a final rule revising “regulations under the FLSA [Federal Labor Standards Act] implementing the exemption from minimum wage and overtime pay for executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and computer employees” (81 FR 32391). Commonly known as the “EAP” or “white collar” exemptions, DOL’s final rule increases the current annual salary threshold for the exemption from $23,660 ($455/week) to $47,476 ($913/week). The new regulations become effective December 1, 2016.
GE Food: Canada Approves AquaBounty Salmon for Livestock Feed
On May 19, 2016, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued Decision Document DD2016-117 regarding the approval of the genetically engineered AquaBounty Salmon for use as livestock feed. According to CIFA, the “feed ingredients derived from this animal with a novel trait does not present livestock feed safety or nutrition concerns when compared to feeds derived from salmon currently permitted to be used as livestock feed in Canada.” As a result, as of May 19, 20016, feed ingredients derived from AquaBounty Salmon are authorized for use in livestock feeds in Canada.
Transportation: Proposed PA Legislation Assigns Gross Weight for Milk Hauling
On May 23, 2016, Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf was presented with legislation that would amend Title 75 (Vehicles) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes (SB 1108). Under the proposed legislation, vehicles “hauling milk to or from a manufacturer…may be permitted by the department and local authorities to move upon highways within their respective jurisdictions 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except during inclement weather as defined in department regulations, if the gross weight does not exceed 95,000 pounds and the weight of any nonsteering axle does not exceed 21,000 pounds.”
Equine: Clarifying Legislation Introduced for PA Breeding Fund
On May 23, 2016, Pennsylvania House Representative John A. Lawrence introduced House Bill 923 which is “legislation to clarify language in the recently passed Administrative Code regarding the eligibility of thoroughbreds receiving payments from the Pennsylvania Breeding Fund, a restricted account within the State Racing Fund that provides incentive awards for winning Pennsylvania born/bred thoroughbred race horses.” Accordingly, the proposed legislation was referred to the House Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee.