A comprehensive summary of today’s judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food. Email important additions to: camarigg at uark.edu


JUDICIAL: Includes labor, food labeling, and bankruptcy issues.

In Lawrence REVIS, Jr., Plaintiff, v. T&A FARMS, Timothy Dale Davis, Alphine Davis, and Stacey Dinwiddie, Defendants, No. 5:14-CV-88, 2017 WL 1029114 (S.D. Ga. March 16, 2017), plaintiff worked at defendant’s egg farm and alleged racist working conditions, with defendants constantly using “invidious racial epithets.”  Defendants moved for summary judgment alleging “no genuine issue of material fact.” Court noted Title VII “only applies to those employers who have fifteen or more employees for each working day in each of twenty or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year.” Defendant testified that he “does not have more than six full-time employees at any given time,” but plaintiff provided evidence of “at least 15 workers.” Summary judgment for defendant denied.

In Jason SAIDIAN v. KRISPY KREME DOUGHNUT CORP., Case Nos. 2:16-cv-08338-SVW (AFMx), 2017 WL 945083 (C.D. Cal. Feb. 27, 2017), plaintiff filed class action suit after purchasing “Chocolate Iced Raspberry Filled” doughnuts from defendant. Plaintiff alleged he purchased the doughnuts believing it contained the ingredients in the product name and sued claiming violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL) and False Advertising Law (FAL). Defendant argued plaintiff’s claims are preempted “because they require [Krispy Kreme] to disclose ingredients at the point of sale,” which is not required under the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA). Court observed that, “Because courts cannot impose state-law labeling requirements that go beyond those required by the NLEA, a claim seeking the imposition of such a requirement must be dismissed. But a claim will not fail on preemption grounds ‘if the requirements [it] seek[s] to impose … do not involve claims or labeling information of the sort described in.’” Defendant’s motion to dismiss denied.

In IN RE: Mark A. CULP and Patricia J. Chamberlain, Appellants, Nos. 16-1454 & 16-1455, 2017 WL 1012991 (3rd Cir. March 15, 2017), appellants operated a bed and breakfast and appealed decision by Bankruptcy Court denying their request to convert their Chapter 7 petition into a Chapter 13 case. Appellate court observed that a “debtor may convert a case under this chapter to a case under chapter 11, 12 or 13 of this title at any time, if the case has not been converted under section 1112, 1208 or 1307 of this title.” Court further noted that “the touchstone for this analysis is not so much the sources of income, but instead the stability and regularity of that income.” Here, appellant listed his employment at a liquor store, but provided “no information on the regularity of this work, or the reliability of his stated income.”  Appellate court also agreed with lower court that appellants “filed their conversion request in bad faith” and affirmed ruling denying conversion.


LEGISLATIVE: 

H.R. 1719: To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to acquire approximately 44 acres of land in Martinez, California. Bill referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.


REGULATORY: Includes AMS, USDA, APHIS, EPA, FWS, FDA, FS, GIPSA, ITA, NIFA, NOAA, RBCS, and RUS rules and notices.

AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE: Notice AMS will request approval from OMB for an extension of the currently approved information collection request Web-Based Supply Chain Management Commodity Offer Form. Info here.

AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT: Notice USDA has submitted information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review. Title: Area Risk Protection Insurance. Info here.

ANIMAL AND PLANT HEALTH INSPECTION SERVICE: Rule that on December 23, 2016, APHIS published a final rule amending the fruits and vegetables regulations to allow the importation of lemons from northwest Argentina into the continental United States. Details here.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY:

Rule EPA is taking final action to approve a source-specific revision to the Arizona state implementation plan that addresses the best available retrofit technology requirements for the Cholla Power Plant. Info here.

Rule establishes tolerances for residues of Cloquintocet-mexyl in or on teff when cloquintocet-mexyl is used as an inert ingredient in pesticide formulations containing pyroxsulam. Info here.

Rule establishes tolerances for residues of cyantraniliprole in or on multiple commodities. Info here.

Rule establishes an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of Aspergillus flavus AF36 in or on almond and fig when used in accordance with label directions. Details here.

Rule establishes an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of fatty acids when used as an inert ingredient in a pesticide chemical formulation. Info here.

Rule establishes an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of isoamyl acetate when used as an inert ingredient in pesticide formulations applied to growing crops. Details here.

Rule establishes an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of octadecanoic acid when used as an inert ingredient in a pesticide chemical formulation. Details here.

Rule establishes an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of polyglycerol polyricinoleate when used as an inert ingredient in a pesticide chemical formulation. Info here.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICENotice Heart of Texas Wind, LLC, has applied to FWS for an incidental take permit under the Endangered Species Act. Details here.

Notice FWS prepared a draft environmental assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1967 and its implementing regulations. Info here.

FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: Rule FDA is extending the comment period on its proposal to establish a limit of N- nitrosonornicotine in finished smokeless tobacco products. Info here.

FOREST SERVICE:

Notice FS will prepare an environmental impact statement to disclose the environmental effects of upland restoration activities; watershed, fisheries, and wildlife restoration; bat gate installation; prescribed burning; road activities; and recreation system changes in the Ragged Ruby planning area. Info here.

Notice FS is giving notice of its intent to prepare a SEIS for the Clear Creek Integrated Restoration Project on the Moose Creek Ranger District of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, Idaho. Info here.

Notice FS seeks comments on the renewal of an information collection, Federal Land Management Agencies (FLMAs) Collaborative Visitor Transportation Information Collections. Info here.

GRAIN INSPECTION PACKERS AND STOCKYARDS ADMINISTRATION:

Notice GIPSA seeks comments on the quality of services provided by Central Illinois Grain Inspection, Inc. Info here.

Notice GIPSA seeks comments on the quality of services provided by Northern Plains Grain Inspection Service, Inc. Details here.

Notice GIPSA seeks comments on the quality of services provided by J.W. Barton Grain Inspection Service, Inc. Info here.

Notice GIPSA seeks comments on the quality of services provided by Plainview Grain Inspection and Weighing Service, Inc. Info here.

Notice GIPSA seeks comments on the quality of services provided by Sioux City Inspection and Weighing Service Company. Info here.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE ADMINISTRATION: Notice that on September 19, 2016, the Department of Commerce published the preliminary results of the 12th administrative review of the antidumping duty order on fish fillets from Vietnam. Details here.

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE: Rule NIFA is publishing a final rule for the Veterinary Services Grants Program. Info here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION:

Rule NMFS is opening directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 610 of the Gulf of Alaska. Info here.

Rule NMFS announces that the Northern Gulf of Maine Scallop Management Area will close for the remainder of the 2017 fishing year. Details here.

Rule NMFS approves and implements through regulations the measures included in Framework Adjustment 28 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan. Details here.

Rule increasing the Gulf of Maine cod trip limit for Northeast multispecies common pool small vessel category vessels for the remainder of the 2016 fishing year. Details here.

Notice the Department of Commerce will submit to OMB for clearance a proposal for collection of information. Title: Management and Oversight of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. Info here.

Notice the Department of Commerce will submit to OMB for clearance a proposal for collection of information. Title: NOAA Space-Data Collection System (DCS) Agreements. Details here.

Notice NOAA is publishing this notice to clarify the processes and platforms for public engagement with the development of the fourth National Climate Assessment. Details here.

RURAL BUSINESS-COOPERATIVE SERVICE: Notice RBCS is accepting fiscal year (FY) 2017 applications for the Rural Cooperative Development Grant program. Info here.

RURAL UTILITIES SERVICE: Notice RUS invites comments on an information collection for which RUS intends to request approval from OMB. Title: Request for Mail List Data, RUS Form 87. Details here.