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:
Food Labeling: FDA Extends Comment Period for Labeling Plant-Based Products with Dairy Names
On November 20, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that the comment period regarding the labeling of plant-based products with dairy names has been extended by 60 days. FDA stated that it is seeking information to assist the agency examine “its approach to the use of dairy food names like ‘milk,’ ‘cheese,’ or ‘yogurt’ in the labeling of plant-based foods and beverages.” Originally scheduled to close on November 27, 2018, comments may now be submitted to FDA up until January 28, 2019. FDA stated that the purpose of the extension is to allow for additional submissions from interested individuals.
Pesticides: California Agency Recommends Restrictions on Chlorpyrifos
On November 15, 2018, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) issued a statement recommending that local state governments enact interim measures restricting the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos. According to DPR, the interim measures will provide increased protection from chlorpyrifos exposure until formal regulations can be enacted. Under DPR’s proposed interim measures, California’s county agricultural commissioners (CAC’s) should restrict chlorpyrifos in the following ways:
- Ban aerial application
- Limit use on crops to those “critical uses” where a crop has few or no alternative pesticides
- Require a quarter-mile buffer zone for application
- Require 150-foot setbacks form houses, businesses, schools, and other sensitive areas
DPR recommends that California’s CAC’s begin implementing the interim measures on January 1, 2019.
Biotechnology: USDA and FDA Address Regulation of Cell-Cultured Food Products
On November 16, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a press release regarding oversight of livestock and poultry cell lines used to develop cell-cultured food products. According to the statement, moving forward, the two agencies will jointly oversee the production of cell-cultured food products derived from livestock and poultry. Accordingly, FDA will oversee cell collection, cell banks, and cell growth and differentiation. USDA will begin its oversight at the time of cell harvest and will oversee the production and labeling of subsequent food products.
International Trade: Japanese Food Safety Panel Recommends lifting age restrictions on US beef
On November 15, 2018, The Mainichi reported that a research panel of Japan's food safety commission has recommended the lifting of age restrictions placed on U.S. beef due to concerns of mad cow disease. In place since 2013, Japan’s current regulations only permit imports of U.S. beef from cattle that is aged 30 months or younger. The research panel concluded, however, that U.S. beef would still be safe even if the age restrictions are removed.
Dairy Policy: Center for Dairy Excellence Offers Team Grants to Dairy Producers
On November 5, 2018, the Center for Dairy Excellence (CDE) announced the availability of team grants designed to help dairy farmers assemble a group of advisors to assist with business making decisions. The team grants are available in three different categories: dairy profit teams, dairy transition teams, and dairy transformation teams. For dairy profit teams, farmers may receive up to $2,000 in reimbursements for advisors that help address bottlenecks and identify opportunities for profitability. For dairy transitions teams, farmers may receive up to $3,000 for advisors that help with succession planning. For dairy transformation teams, farmers may receive up to $5,000 for teams that provide guidance related to a major business transformation. To participate, farmers must complete an application and submit the required $100 application fee to CDE.
From National Ag Law Experts:
“Did you know that states’ ‘right-to-farm’ protections can apply to aquaculture, too?”, Ellen Essman, Ohio State University Extension (November 16, 2018)
“Final Regulations Issued for Head of Household Due Diligence Requirements”, Kristine A. Tidgren, Iowa State University Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation (November 7, 2018)
“Good news for Specialty Crop Growers: USDA’s Harmonized GAP + Now Fulfills Technical Requirements of GFSI Produce Safety Rule Produce GAP Harmonization Initiative and Industry Best Practices”, Nicole Cook, Maryland Risk Management Education Blog (November 14, 2018)
Pennsylvania Actions and Notices:
The General Assembly
State Horse Racing Commission
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture:
“Ag Economy Entering Deja Vu-light Version Of 1980s, Economist Says” – Successful Farming
“‘Local brands are winning hearts and minds’: Rising demand for local food in Europe” – Food Navigator
“How animal rights activists use politically correct social justice law to achieve their goals” – Beef Magazine
“Animal Welfare Institute Sues USDA” – Brownfield Ag News
“Environmental Defense Fund, National Corn Growers Association Launch First-of-Its-Kind Partnership” – Environmental Defense Fund
“Thanksgiving dinner cost down for 3rd straight year” – Morning AgClips
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