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


JUDICIAL: Includes international trade, food safety, and aquaculture issues.

IN RE: SYNGENTA AG MIR 162 CORN LITIGATION, MDL No. 2591, No. 14-md-2591-JWL, 2017 WL 1738014 (D.Kansas May 4, 2017) concerned the mass tort action against Syngenta regarding the company’s Viptera brand corn seed containing genetically modified traits. Court considered parties’ motions to exclude expert testimony from the trial of the Kansas state class’ negligence claims. Syngenta argued that plaintiffs’ witness (Dr. Carter) was “not sufficiently qualified to offer certain opinions relating to the Chinese regulatory system.” Plaintiffs countered their witness “had traveled to China extensively concerning his work on the economics of Chinese agriculture and that he has authored works on China and its institutions.” Court ruled as to this particular witness that plaintiffs “failed to show that Dr. Carter has the expertise needed to give those particular opinions that China has a functioning, predictable, and science-based regulatory system for approving biotech events.” Defendant’s motion to exclude granted.

In MAUREEN HORAN and DENNIS VACHON, Plaintiffs, v. DILBET, INC. d/b/a WINDRIFT HOTEL RESORT, Defendant, No. 12-2273, 2017 WL 1807560 (D.N.J. May 5, 2017), plaintiff sued hotel claiming injury from unrefrigerated clams. Court reasoned that, “Plaintiffs must first present sufficient and reliable evidence . . . that the clams likely contained Vibrio in an amount less than the infective dose.” Court concluded, “There remains no evidence to put before the jury that the clams delivered, more likely than not, did not contain an infective Vibrio.” Summary judgment for defendant.

In Alabama Power Company v. Ray Keller, 2150979, 2017 WL 1788948 (Ala. Civ. App. May 5, 2017), plaintiff appealed judgment “establishing a boundary line between adjoining properties owned by Alabama Power and [defendant].” Plaintiff argued trial court “should have applied the legal principles of adverse possession rather than the principles applicable to boundary-line disputes, that the trial court erred in establishing the boundary line, and that the equitable doctrine of unclean hands barred [defendant’s] claims.” Court observed, “An adverse-possession claim in a boundary-line action is subject to ‘a unique set of requirements that is a hybrid of the elements of adverse possession by prescription and statutory adverse possession.’” In affirming lower court decision, appellate court concluded trial court “appropriately treated this action as a boundary-line case.”


REGULATORY: Includes AMS, USDA, APHIS and NOAA rules and notices.

AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE: Notice AMS announces the 2017 rates it will charge for voluntary grading, inspection, certification, auditing and laboratory services for a variety of agricultural commodities including meat and poultry, fruits and vegetables, eggs, dairy products, and cotton and tobacco. Details here.

AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT:

Notice USDA will submit the following information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review: Pistachios Grown in California, Arizona and New Mexico. Info here.

Notice USDA will submit the following information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review: Agricultural Surveys Program. Info here.

Notice USDA will submit the following information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review: Child Nutrition Program Operations Study II (CN-OPS II). 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 the regulations for the importation of fresh baby kiwi from Chile into the continental United States. Info here.

Notice APHIS will request a revision to and extension of approval of an information collection associated with the regulations for the importation of tomatoes with stems from the Republic of Korea. Info here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION:

Rule NMFS issues regulations to implement measures described in Amendment 8 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Fishery of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Details here.

Rule reduces in-season possession limit adjustment trigger for northern red hake due to an annual catch limit overage in fishing year 2015. Info here.

Rule NOAA will approve and implement regulations submitted by the New England and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Councils in Framework Adjustment 10 to the Monkfish Fishery Management Plan. Info here.