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:
Water: Supreme Court to Hear WOTUS Case
On January 13, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear a petition regarding the proper venue for challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the United States rule (WOTUS) (National Association of Manufacturers v. Department of Defense, Docket No. 16-299). According to the Court, the issue involves “whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit erred when it held that it has jurisdiction under…the Clean Water Act's judicial review provision…to decide petitions to review the waters-of-the-United-States rule, even though the rule does not ‘issu[e] or den[y] any permit’ but instead defines the waters that fall within Clean Water Act jurisdiction.”
COOL: USDA Proposes Provisions to Include Venison Meat
On January 13, 2017, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published notice in the Federal Register that the agency was proposing “to amend the country of origin labeling (COOL) regulation to add muscle cuts of venison and ground venison to mandatory COOL requirements” (82 FR 4198). The comment period for the proposed rule closes March 14, 2017.
Quarantine: Pennsylvania Deer Tests Positive for Chronic Wasting Disease
On January 13, 2017, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) announced that a deer harvested on a hunting preserve in Franklin County, has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). According to PDA, this is “the first new case [of CWD] in a captive deer farm since 2014.” The deer, which was harvested in November 2016, was “raised on a deer farm in Fulton County until it was sold to the Franklin County facility in August 2016.” PDA stated that both farms are currently under quarantine.
Trade: U.S. to Lift Ban on French Beef
On January 13, 2017, the European Commission (EC) issued a statement that the United States was removing a 19 year-old ban on the importation of beef from France. According to EC, “[t]he American market has been closed to beef from the EU since January 1998, the date on which the United States introduced restrictions on the import of bovine, ovine and caprine meat following the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) epidemic.”
Organic: USDA Proposes Rule for Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order
On January 18, 2017, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published notice in the Federal Register “invit[ing] comments on procedures for conducting a referendum to determine whether the issuance of a proposed Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order is favored by certified organic producers, certified organic handlers, and importers of certified organic products” (82 FR 5438). The comment period for the proposed rule closes March 20, 2017.
Medical Marijuana: PDH Publishes Amendments to Temporary Regulations
On January 14, 2017, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PDH) published notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin regarding amendments to the temporary regulations under the Medical Marijuana Act relating to general provisions; and growers/processors (47 Pa.B. 199). According to PDH, “Interested persons are invited to submit written comments, suggestions or objections regarding the amendments to the temporary regulations to John J. Collins, Office of Medical Marijuana, Department of Health, Room 628, Health and Welfare Building, 625 Forster Street, Harrisburg, PA 17120, (717) 787-4366, RA-DHMedMarijuana@pa.gov.”
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- Two year pilot program in France will require country-of-origin food labeling - Meatingplace
- New food trends: consumers want variety and want to know how their food is grown - Brownfield
- USDA approves certification for transitioning organic producers - FeedStuffs
- Final rules released on “certified organic” animal requirements - TheHill
- New bird flu outbreaks still being reported - Meatingplace
- Department of Agriculture published notice of public hearing for apples and hard cider - PABulletin
- Researchers create new form of crop protection with clay nanoparticles - FeedStuffs
- USDA delays rule on livestock handling at slaughterhouses - Meatingplace
- A deer at a private PA hunting preserve found to have chronic wasting disease - LancasterOnline
- Lab-grown meat decreases risk of animal disease/other contaminants and is humane - FoodSafetyNews
- Farmers get primer in ag labor law from Sean High of @AgShaleLaw - LancasterFarming
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