Thursday, May 2, 2019

Agricultural Law Weekly Review—May 2, 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:

Biotechnology: FDA Approves GMO Apple
On April 26, 2019, Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. (OSF) announced that the company’s genetically modified Arctic Fuji apple has completed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) voluntary review process and been awarded FDA approval.  Previously, in 2015, OSF had received FDA approval for its genetically modified Arctic Granny and Arctic Delicious apple varieties.  According to the Canadian based OSF, the company’s biotechnology turns off the enzyme in each variety of Arctic apple that causes browning—thereby greatly reducing food waste resulting from bruising.  Artic Fuji apples have been available to consumers in select U.S. cities since the fall of 2017.

Pesticides: EPA Reaffirms that Glyphosate is not a Risk to Public Health
On April 30, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a press release asserting that the pesticide glyphosate is not carcinogenic and when used correctly does not pose a health risk.  According to EPA, when the users of glyphosate properly follow current product labeling, the pesticide causes no risk to humans.  While EPA asserts that the pesticide is not harmful to the public health, the agency is proposing management measures intended to make glyphosate application more effective and efficient.  Specifically, EPA seeks to develop procedures that protect pollinators and decrease weed resistance to glyphosate.

Pesticides: Canada Announces New Regulations for Three Neonicotinoids
On April 16, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service reported that the Canadian government has decided to permit the continued use of the neonicotinoids imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam following an evaluation of their effect on pollinators.  While the neonicotinoids—which are in a class of insecticides chemically related to nicotine—will continue to be available, certain changes will be made to product labels.  Additional restrictions will be imposed on current permitted uses and certain foliar and soil applications will be canceled.  Nevertheless, seed treatments for the three neonicotinoids will continue to be permitted and the current maximum residue limits will remain unchanged.

Food Safety: FDA Issues Voluntary Recall Guidance
On April 23, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published notice in the Federal Register of the availability of  draft guidance regarding the voluntary recall of FDA products (84 FR 17112).  Entitled: Initiation of Voluntary Recalls Under 21 CFR Part 7, Subpart C, the draft guidance is intended to provide industry with recommendations for personnel training, organized recordkeeping, and written recall procedures.  Interested individuals are encouraged to submit comments on the draft guidance by June 24, 2019 to ensure FDA consideration before the agency begins work on the final version of the guidance.

Farmland Preservation: Legislation Allowing Agritourism of PA Preserved Farms Reported Out of Committee
On May 1, 2019, the Pennsylvania Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee advanced legislation providing that agritourism activities are to be treated as part of agriculture authorized on farms preserved under the state’s farmland preservation program (SB 583).  According to sponsoring Senator Ryan Aument, today’s farmers encounter many difficulties generating enough income from agricultural commodities alone.  As such, many agricultural producers have sought additional revenue from alternative sources such as agritourism.  Currently, each county farmland preservation board sets the standards for what is defined as agritourism.  Senator Aument’s legislation would create a uniform definition of agritourism and would permit such activities on the Commonwealth’s preserved farmland.  The legislation now moves to the Pennsylvania Senate Appropriations Committee.

Dairy Policy: Legislation Establishing PA Dairy Future Commission Reported Out of Committee
On May 1, 2019, the Pennsylvania Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee advanced legislation to establish the Pennsylvania Dairy Future Commission (SB 585).  According to sponsoring Senator Jake Corman, the purpose of the Commission would be to review and make recommendations designed to promote and strengthen Pennsylvania’s dairy industry.  Areas to be considered by the Commission would include dairy processing, production, and marketing.  Additionally, the commission would assess the effects statutes, regulations, and local governments have on the dairy industry.  The legislation now moves to the Pennsylvania Senate Appropriations Committee.

From National Ag Law Experts:
“How Indiana's Trespass Law Differs from ‘Ag Gag’ Laws”, Brianna J. Schroeder, Schroeder Ag Law Blog – Janzen Ag Law (April 24, 2019)
“Well-crafted farmers market vendor agreement protects both parties”, Sarah Everhart, Maryland Risk Management Education Blog (April 16, 2019)   
Federal Actions and Notices:
Agricultural Marketing Service

Food and Nutrition Service

Pennsylvania Actions and Notices:
Executive Orders

Department of Agriculture

Penn State Research:

AgLaw HotLinks:
“Biosecurity beyond the farm” – National Hog Farmer

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