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


JUDICIAL: Includes food labeling and environmental law issues.

In SHANA BECERRA, individually and on behalf of a class of similarly situated persons, Plaintiff, v. THE COCA-COLA COMPANY, Defendant, No. C 17-05916 WHA, 2018 WL 1070823 (N.D. Cal. February 27, 2018), plaintiff sought class-action status in her suit against Coca Cola, wherein she alleged the company falsely advertised its Diet Coke product contributed to weight loss. Coca-Cola argued plaintiff’s claims are preempted by federal law and barred by California’s safe harbor rule. Court observed that “[c]laims under California consumer protection statutes are governed by the “reasonable consumer” standard.” The court considered plaintiff’s evidence and found that “[plaintiff’s]’s studies may show a strong correlation between artificial sweeteners and weight gain . . but do not show that Diet Coke causes weight gain.” Court dismissed plaintiff’s suit after concluding the complaint “fails to sufficiently allege Coca-Cola misrepresented to consumers that Diet Coke would aid in weight loss or healthy weight management without regard to exercise and nutrition.”

In NORTHERN PLAINS RESOURCE COUNCIL, INC., Plaintiff-Appellant, v. U.S. BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT and U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, Defendants-Appellees, SIGNAL PEAK ENERGY, LLC, Intervenor-Defendant-Appellee, No. 16-35447, 2018 WL 1060564 (9th Cir. February 27, 2018), plaintiff challenged Bureau of Land Management (BLM) decision to lease coal to defendant-intervenor. Plaintiff alleged BLM did not comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) “when it analyzed the potential environmental impacts of the coal lease in its Environmental Assessment.” Specifically, plaintiff argued BLM’s “cumulative-impacts analysis” did not account for “reasonably foreseeable mining in the “mirror-image” mine to the north of the existing mine area.” Appellate court affirmed summary judgment for defendant after concluding that BLM “reasonably determined that hypothetical future mining activity contemplated to the north is not currently a reasonably foreseeable future action.”


LEGISLATIVE:

S. 2278: State Offices of Rural Health Reauthorization Act of 2018. Committees assigned to this bill sent it to the House or Senate as a whole for consideration on February 28, 2018.


REGULATORY: Includes USDA, EPA, FWS, FDA, FS, and NOAA rules and notices.

AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT: Notice USDA will submit the following information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review and clearance. Title: Field Crops Objective Yield. Info here.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY: Rule EPA is reopening the public comment period for the proposed approval of Rhode Island’s enhanced motor vehicle inspection and maintenance program State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision. Info here.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE: Notice FWS announces a public meeting of the International Wildlife Conservation Council. Info here.

FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION:

Rule FDA is amending the regulations for food additives permitted in feed and drinking water of animals to provide for the safe use of silicon dioxide as a carrier for flavors for use in animal feed. Info here.

Rule FDA is announcing the availability of a draft guidance for industry entitled “The Declaration of Added Sugars on Honey, Maple Syrup, and Certain Cranberry Products: Guidance for Industry.” Details here.

Notice FDA is announcing the availability of a guidance for industry entitled “Food Labeling: Serving Sizes of Foods That Can Reasonably Be Consumed at One Eating Occasion; Dual-Column Labeling; Updating, Modifying, and Establishing Certain Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed; Serving Size for Breath Mints; and Technical Amendments–Small Entity Compliance Guide.” Details here.

Notice FDA announcing the availability of a guidance for industry entitled “Proper Labeling of Honey and Honey Products.” Details here.

FOREST SERVICE: Notice the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate the effects of controlling and eradicating non-native invasive plants and restoring native vegetation on national forest lands in Nevada. Details here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION:

Rule NMFS is taking emergency action through this interim final rule, in response to a new stock assessment for North Atlantic shortfin mako sharks to implement measures required by International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) Recommendation 17-08. Details here.

Notice NMFS announces its intent to prepare a draft environmental impact analysis to assess the potential effects of alternative measures under the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan for management of the pelagic longline fishery. Details here.