A comprehensive summary of today’s judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food. Email important additions HERE.


JUDICIAL: Includes SNAP, finance and credit, landowner liability, and food safety issues.

In NADIA INTERNATIONAL MARKET, Plaintiff-appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Defendant-appellee, 16-364-cv, 2017 WL 1493687 (2d Cir. April 26, 2017), plaintiff was disqualified from participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program after trafficking in SNAP benefits and appealed, arguing the EBT transaction data “was insufficient to establish trafficking” and that the decision to disqualify was “arbitrary and capricious.” Court observed that Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) “identified over two hundred statistically unusual EBT transactions, the timing and amount of which demonstrated that SNAP benefits were not being redeemed for items sold at Nadia Market.”  Appellate court affirmed district court holding for defendant, concluding “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”

In TIMOTHY CLEVELAND, Plaintiff, v. THOMAS C. HUNTON, et al., Defendants, No. 1:16-cv-01732-AWI-SAB, 2017 WL 1491006 (E.D. Cal. April 26, 2017), plaintiff claimed Farm Service Agency (FSA) improperly accelerated a loan from 2014. Magistrate judge found plaintiff had stated a claim for declaratory relief against Defendant on his Administrative Procedure Act (APA) claim regarding decision to accelerate the loan. Court noted that, “A finding that Plaintiff has stated a claim does not demonstrate that Plaintiff is likely to prevail on the merits of his claim.” Appellate court dismissed plaintiff’s APA claim “based on the denial of his application for a loan” and dismissed his claims for violation of the Takings Clause.

In KATHLEEN SULLIVAN, Plaintiff, v. EAGLESTONE RANCH HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, CARLA ASH, TROY BAKER, MICHELLE HALSEIDE, DONALD STEFFANUS, WILLIAM GARLAND, THOMAS BOYLE III, ANNE VAUGHN, JAY NANCE, and LONNIE WRIGHT, Defendants, No: 16-CV-290-MLC, 2017 WL 1496933 (D. Wyo. April 24, 2017), plaintiff purchased a tract of land in a development and wanted to build a barn to store hay. A home owners association meeting in 2007 adopted rules regarding the storage of hay that differed from a 2004 CC&R document. Plaintiff sued for breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation. Court observed that, “Restrictive covenants are contractual in nature and will be reviewed by the Court pursuant to the standards of contract interpretation.” Court determined plaintiff’s complaint “fails to set forth a claim upon which relief can be granted,” and granted defendant’s motion to dismiss.

In Michelle HU, Plaintiff, v. HERR FOODS, INC., Defendant, NO. 16-5037, 2017 WL 1477134 (E.D. Pa. April 24, 2017), plaintiff brought class action suit alleging defendant misbranded its snack food products as having “no preservatives” despite the foods containing citric acid. Defendant countered plaintiff’s claims “fail as a matter of law because Plaintiff has not plausibly alleged that citric acid functions as a preservative in the Products.”  Defendant further maintained that “an ingredient is a ‘preservative’ only if it is used for a preservative function in a particular product.” Court considered FDA definition of “preservative” and concluded that “Plaintiff has not provided any other allegations supporting her theory of the definition of a preservative. Plaintiff has therefore failed to state a claim with respect to that theory.”


REGULATORY: Includes USDA, APHIS, FDA, FS, ITA, and NOAA rules and notices.

AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT: Notice USDA submitted information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review. Title: Farm Loan Program, General Program Administration. Details here.

ANIMAL AND PLANT HEALTH INSPECTION SERVICE:

Notice APHIS will request a revision to and extension of approval of an information collection associated with activities to prevent the introduction of bovine spongiform encephalopathy into the United States. Info here.

Notice APHIS will request an extension of approval of an information collection associated with credit account approval for reimbursable services. Details here.

Notice APHIS will request a reinstatement of an information collection associated with the importation of ruminant and swine hides, bird trophies, and deer hides. Info here.

Notice of a meeting of the General Conference Committee of the National Poultry Improvement Plan. Info here.

FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: Notice that scientists at FDA developed a high-throughput method for purifying full-length phosphorothioate and native DNA sequences. Details here.

FOREST SERVICE:

Notice the Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board (Board) will meet in Rapid City, South Dakota. Details here.

Notice the National Advisory Committee for Implementation of the National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule Committee will meet in Houston, Texas. Info here.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE ADMINISTRATION: Notice Department of Commerce preliminarily determines that countervailable subsidies are being provided to producers and exporters of softwood lumber products from Canada. Info here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION:

Rule NMFS has determined that the Atlantic bluefin tuna daily retention limit that applies to vessels permitted in the Highly Migratory Species Angling category and the HMS Charter/Headboat category should be adjusted for the remainder of 2017. Details here.

Rule that rule document 2017-8035 beginning on page 18706 in the issue of Friday, April 21, 2017, requires correction. Details here.

Rule NOAA approved sector operations plans for fishing years 2017 and 2018, granting regulatory exemptions for fishing years 2017 and 2018. Details here.

Rule NMFS establishes fishery management measures for the 2017 ocean salmon fisheries off Washington, Oregon, and California and the 2018 salmon seasons opening earlier than May 1, 2018. Info here.

Notice NOAA will prepare a Strategic Restoration Plan for Barataria Basin, Louisiana, and to initiate restoration planning with regard to the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion. Details here.