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


JUDICIAL: Includes food labeling and agritourism issues.

In re Trader Joe’s Tuna Litigation, No. 2:16-cv-01371-ODW(AJWx), 2017 WL 4442918 (C.D.Cal. October 3, 2017) involved a consumer class action relating to Trader Joe’s allegedly illegal and deceptive practices of “under filling cans of tuna, despite consumers’ expectations that the cans would contain an ‘adequate amount.’” Plaintiffs concluded the tuna cans were “underfilled and underweight” by commissioning testing with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Defendant claimed plaintiff failed to sufficiently allege misrepresentation because “the statements regarding drained and net weight on Trader Joe’s cans of tuna are accurate.” Plaintiff countered the misrepresentation “stems from the can itself, not the drained and net weight, and that Trader Joe’s failed to include ‘Below Standard in Fill’ on the can.” Court concluded that “[p]laintiffs sufficiently set forth the who, what, when, where, and how of Trader Joe’s allegedly fraudulent conduct.” Defendant’s motion to dismiss denied.

In Abigail E. BROWN, Plaintiff, v. COUNTRY VIEW EQUESTRIAN CENTER, INC., Defendant, 17-cv-342-bbc, 2017 WL 4417729 (W.D. Wis. October 10, 2017), plaintiff brought state law negligence claim against defendant, alleging that she was injured during a horseback riding lesson on her horse when defendant’s employee allowed another “high-spirited” horse to enter the arena in which plaintiff was having her lesson. Defendant argued plaintiff’s negligence claim is not plausible because Wisconsin’s equine immunity statute “shields defendant and its employees for their acts and omissions related to equine activities.” Court noted that the statute at issue “extends broad immunity to those who sponsor or provide horseback riding and other equine activities.” Court concluded the facts “establish that defendant falls within the scope of the equine immunity statute and that the statutory exception cited by plaintiff . . . does not apply in this case.” Motion to dismiss granted.


LEGISLATIVE:

S. 1919: A bill to end the use of body-gripping traps in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Bill referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

S. 1913: A bill to amend the Federal Crop Insurance Act and the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 to make the native sod provisions applicable to the United States and to modify those provisions. Bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

S. 1920: A bill to amend title 40, United States Code, to direct the Administrator of General Services to incorporate bird-safe building materials and design features into public buildings. Bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

S. 1514: HELP for Wildlife Act. This bill’s text for status Reported by Senate Committee (Oct 5, 2017) is now available.

S. 1957: A bill to amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to require the Secretary of Energy to establish a gasoline supply reserve in the State of Florida. Bill referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

S. 1921: A bill to amend the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to increase limitations and authorizations for Farm Service Agency guaranteed loans. Bill referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

S. 1941: A bill to amend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to clarify the treatment of authentic Alaska Native articles of handicraft containing nonedible migratory bird parts. Bill referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

S. 1930: A bill to establish a cost of greenhouse gases for carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide to be used by Federal agencies. Bill referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

H.R. 3961: To amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate segments of the Kissimmee River and its tributaries in the State of Florida for study for potential addition to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Bill was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.

H.R. 3941: To improve food safety, to encourage greater production of agricultural commodities for use in the locality in which produced, to reauthorize and expand Department of Agriculture support of these efforts. This bill was referred to the House Committee on Agriculture and House Committee on Education and the Workforce.


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

AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE: Notice announces the Agency’s intent to request emergency approval from the Office of Management and Budget for a new information collection for cranberry handlers, where applicable, to provide prior affirmative consent authorizing five forms needed to implement and facilitate compliance with a handler withhold volume regulation for the 2017-18 season under the marketing order for cranberries grown in the states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, and Long Island in the State of New York. Details here.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY:

Rule EPA is taking final action to approve portions of revisions to Alabama’s State Implementation Plan (SIP), submitted by the State of Alabama, through the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), on May 8, 2013, and August 23, 2016. Info here.

Rule is approving a source-specific revision to the Arizona state implementation plan (SIP) that provides an alternative to Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) for the Coronado Generating Station, owned and operated by the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District. Details here.

Rule is taking final action to approve and conditionally approve revisions to the Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District portion of the California State Implementation Plan. Details here.

Rule EPA is making an interim final determination to defer the imposition of offset and highway sanctions in the Los Angeles-South Coast air basin based on a proposed approval of revisions to the South Coast portion of the California State Implementation Plan (SIP) published elsewhere in this Federal Register. Details here.

Rule EPA is approving State Implementation Plan (SIP) revisions submitted by the State of North Dakota on January 28, 2013, and April 22, 2014. Info here.

Rule EPA is approving State Implementation Plan (SIP) revisions submitted by the State of Utah on January 28, 2013, and July 8, 2015. Details here.

Rule establishes exemptions from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of tall oil fatty acids (CAS Reg. No. 61790-12-3) when used as inert ingredients (solvent/carrier) in the following circumstances: In pesticide formulations applied to growing crops and raw agricultural commodities after harvest; in pesticides applied in/on animals, and in antimicrobial formulations for food contact surfaces. Details here.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE:

Notice FWS is proposing to renew an information collection with revisions. Title: Administrative Procedures for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Financial Assistance Programs. Info here.

Notice FWS is proposing to renew an information collection with revisions. Title: Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines. Details here.

Notice FWS seeks comment on applications to conduct certain activities with endangered and threatened species. Details here.

FOREST SERVICE:

Notice FS is seeking comments from all interested individuals and organizations on the revision of a currently approved information collection, OMB 0596-0217, Federal and Non-Federal Financial Assistance Instruments. Info here.

Notice FS is seeking comments from all interested individuals and organizations on a renewal of the information collection, Environmental Justice and the Urban Forest in Atlanta, GA. Details here.

Notice FS is seeking comments from all interested individuals and organizations on the extension with revision of a currently approved information collection entitled, Volunteer Application for Natural Resources Agencies. Info here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHEIRC ADMINISTRATION:

Rule NMFS closes the General category fishery for large medium and giant Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) until the General category reopens on December 1, 2017. Info here.

Rule NMFS announces that the State of New Jersey is transferring a portion of its 2017 commercial summer flounder quota to the State of Rhode Island. Details here.