Jackie Schweichler - Education Programs Coordinator
The following information is an update of recent local, state, national, and international legal developments relevant to agriculture.
Biotechnology: Proposed Rule on Bioengineered Foods Continues to Move Forward
On August 31, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sent a proposed rule on bioengineered foods to the U.S. Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). The proposed rule, National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, was published May 4, 2018. The proposed rule will provide a mandatory uniform national standard of disclosure for bioengineered food products. The proposed rule suggests three ways in which manufacturers could disclose that their products contain bioengineered ingredients. On product packaging, manufacturers could use text disclosures, symbols, or an electric/digital link disclosure that could be scanned with a smartphone. OIRA will have 90 days to review the rule, and if approved, the rule will be published in the Federal Register.
Food Labeling: FDA Announces Preparation of Final Guidance to Nutrition Facts Label
On September 6, 2018, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it is preparing the final guidance for the Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods. In the initial draft guidance, manufacturers would have been required to categorize maple syrup and honey as “added sugars” on the nutrition label. Under the draft guidance, manufacturers could use a “†” to lead the reader to a statement with additional information. FDA received over 3,000 comments in response to the draft guidance. In light of these comments, FDA will not use the “added sugars” declaration for pure, single-ingredient “packaged as such” products. FDA states, however, that it will still use the required percent daily value for honey and maple syrup. FDA expects the final guidance to be issued by early 2019.
Food Labeling: USDA and FDA Will Hold Public Meeting on Animal Cell Cultured Food Products
On September 10, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a joint public meeting on the use of cell culture technology to create animal food products. The meeting will focus on the labeling, oversight, and potential problems with animal cell cultured food products. These products, often referred to as “clean meats,” are created by adding nutrients in vitro to animal cells which grow into animal muscle tissue. The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association has petitioned USDA to prohibit these products from being labeled or marketed as “beef” or “meat.” USDA received over 6,000 comments on this petition. The two-day meeting will be held on October 23-24, 2018.
Pesticides: Brazilian Judge Overturns Glyphosate Ban
On September 3, 2018, an injunction banning glyphosate from Brazil was overturned, according to a Reuters article. Last month, on August 6th, a Brazilian judge issued a ruling prohibiting the registration of any new products containing glyphosate, abamectin, and thriam. That judge also suspended current registrations for those chemicals in order for the government to complete an evaluation. Monsanto extensively markets Roundup Ready glyphosate-resistant soybeans within Brazil. According to Reuters, in the most recent court order, the judge stated that the prohibition of these chemicals was unjustified.
National Agricultural Policy: USDA NAD Determines Farm is Entitled to Compensation for Damages from Bald Eagles
On August 21, 2018, the National Appeals Division (NAD) of the Farm Service Administration (FSA) determined that White Oak Pastures is entitled to compensation for damages from bald eagle attacks. White Oak Pastures claimed that 80 bald eagles roosted on their property and destroyed approximately 30 percent of their organic chickens. The farm sought compensation from FSA under the Livestock Indemnity Program but was denied. The program provides compensation to producers who experience above average livestock deaths as a result of animals introduced into the wild by the federal government. White Oak Pastures appealed the decision to NAD which stated in its ruling that FSA acted improperly in denying the farm’s request for compensation.
From National Ag Law Experts:
Kristine Tidgren, What's Up with WOTUS?, Iowa State University (September 12, 2018).
Amie Alexander, Court Rules on Grocery Manufacturer’s Association Actions Regarding GMO Initiative, The National Agricultural Law Center (September 10, 2018).
Josh Wise, Uprooted Episode 44: The Affordable Clean Energy Rule, Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy (September 12, 2018).
HB 1483 referred to State Government (September 7, 2018) (the bill would establish Forest & Wildlife Advisory Council to implement proven, scientific, wildlife management techniques to increase deer, grouse, & other populations for hunting tourism & recreation)
Meeting set: Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council on September 18, 2018.
Meeting cancelled: Environmental Quality Board will not meet on September 18, 2018. Next meeting is scheduled for October 16, 2018
Public hearing: Milk Marketing Board to conduct hearing on September 26, 2018 (to solicit comments for changes to Milk Marketing Law)
Public hearing: Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs meeting on invasive and native species (October 2, 2018)
"American Dairy Coalition pushes for worker-vetting program" - Dairy Reporter
"Ag appropriations on the move" - Politico
"North Carolina pork trials delayed during appeals" - Feedstuffs
"GMOs Are Not Agriculture's Future--Biotech Is" - Scientific America
"From traditional farms to niche farming, ag evolves" - Morning Ag Clips
"Bayer officials vague on lawsuit strategy" - Morning Ag Clips
"Cultured meat cos agree to replace term ‘clean meat’ with ‘cell-based meat’ and form trade association" - Food Navigator
"Palmer amaranth: You have questions, we have answers" - Ag Week Magazine
Listen to our weekly Agricultural Law Podcast
Read our monthly Agricultural Law Brief newsletter
Follow us on Twitter at PSU Ag & Shale Law (@AgShaleLaw) to receive daily AgLaw HotLinks
Connect with us on Facebook to view our weekly CASL Ledger detailing Center publications and activities
Visit The Ag & Food Law Blog for a comprehensive summary of daily judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food