Thursday, March 21, 2019

Agricultural Law Weekly Review—March 21, 2019

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:

Pesticides: California Federal Jury Finds Glyphosate Caused Cancer
On March 19, 2019, Bayer announced that a federal jury in California has ruled that plaintiff Edwin Hardeman's non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was caused by the company’s glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup.  While the jury reached a decision in the first phase of the trial regarding causation, it still must decide the question of liability in phase two of the trial.  According to Bayer, “We are disappointed with the jury’s initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms that glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer. We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto’s conduct has been appropriate and that the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman’s cancer.”

Ag-Gag: Iowa Governor Signs Ag Trespass Bill
On March 14, 2019, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed into law legislation making it a criminal act to trespass at an agricultural production facility (SF 519).  The new law allows for the prosecution of individuals who use deceptive means to gain access to an agricultural production facility with the intent of causing physical or economic harm.  Passage follows a January 9, 2019 determination by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa that Iowa’s agricultural production facility fraud law violated the First Amendment of the Constitution.  For more information on the case involving Iowa’s production facility fraud law, see the Penn State Agricultural Law Weekly Review for February 28, 2019.

Food Labeling: North Dakota Governor Signs Meat Labeling Bill
On March 12, 2019, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signed into law legislation defining the term “meat” and prohibiting the marketing of cell cultured proteins as a “meat food products” HB 1400).  Cell cultured products are derived from animal cells and are an attempt to grow meat-like human food products in a lab.  The legislation defines the term meat as "the edible flesh of an animal born and harvested for the purpose of human consumption.”  Because cell cultured proteins do not meet this definition, they may not be advertisement as “meat food products.”

Food Policy: New York City Announces “Meatless Mondays” for Public Schools
On March 11, 2019, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, all of the city’s public schools will have “Meatless Mondays.” Instead, on Mondays, students will be served only vegetarian items.  According to Mayor de Blasio, “[c]utting back on meat a little will improve New Yorkers' health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

FSMA: FDA Extends Produce Safety Rule’s Agricultural Water Compliance Dates
On March 18, 2019, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) published notice in the Federal Register announcing the extension of compliance dates for the “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption” rule’s agricultural water requirements (84 FR 9706).  The extension is applicable to all produce subject to FDA Produce Safety Rule’s requirements, other than for sprouts.  Accordingly, the new compliance dates are: January 2022 for large farms, January 2023 for small farms, and January 2024 for very small farms.  FDA stated that the purpose of the extension is to “address questions about the practical implementation of compliance with certain provisions and to consider how [FDA] might further reduce the regulatory burden or increase flexibility while continuing to protect public health.”

From National Ag Law Experts:
“CA Animal Welfare Act Could Impact Farm Practices Nationwide”, Tiffany Dowell Lashmet, Texas Agriculture Law Blog – Texas A&M AgriLife Extension (March 18, 2019)
“Employment Eligibility Verification: What You Need to Know about the I-9”, Cari Rincker, Rincker Law Blog – Rincker Law PLLC (March 18, 2019)
“Dairy Farm PFAS Contamination”, Brianna J. Schroeder, Schroeder Ag Law Blog – Janzen Ag Law (March 4, 2019)

Federal Actions and Notices:
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Agricultural Marketing Service

Environmental Protection Agency

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture:

Pennsylvania Legislation:
HB 881: Legislation providing for farmland succession planning grants (referred to House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, March 19, 2019)
HB 822: Legislation providing for county humane officers to assess animal cruelty issues and enforce animal control provisions (Referred to House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, March 14, 2019)

Pennsylvania Actions and Notices:
Department of Agriculture

Penn State Research:

AgLaw HotLinks:
“Pork checkoff changing with times” – Feedstuffs          

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