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 labeling, administrative and bankruptcy issues.

Coe v. Gen. Mills, Inc., No. 15-CV-05112-TEH, 2016 WL 4208287 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 10, 2016) involved a class action suit against General Mills challenging labeling and advertising of the “Cheerios Protein” product. Plaintiffs argued “Cheerios Protein” misleads because it implies the product is identical to Cheerios, only with added protein, and sued under California’s “Consumers Legal Remedies Act.” Court considered whether Cheerios could be considered an “ingredient” under the applicable regulation and reasoned that “Whether something is an ‘ingredient’ for purposes of a recipe is a separate question from whether it is an ‘ingredient’ in the context of food labeling. Adopting Plaintiffs’ position would lead to the absurd result that a regular box of Cheerios would only need to list ‘Cheerios’ in its list of ingredients.” Court concluded that “Cheerios is not an “ingredient,” and the name “Cheerios Protein” is not regulated by the statute. Defendant’s motion to dismiss granted in part.

In Illinois Landowners All., NFP v. Illinois Commerce Comm’n, 2016 IL App (3d) 150099, plaintiffs contested an order by the Illinois Commerce Commission allowing a company to operate as a public utility. The court considered whether the company granted the application could be declared a “public utility.” The court reasoned that to be considered a “public utility” a company must “own, control, operate, or manage utility assets, directly or indirectly, within the State, and it must offer those assets for public use without discrimination.” The applicant company failed to meet this test and appellate court reversed defendant’s order granting the certificate.

In re Crabtree, No. AP 14-6025, 2016 WL 4203558 (Bankr. D. Minn. Aug. 8, 2016) involved a challenge by a chapter 7 trustee to a debtor’s claimed homestead exemption. At issue was whether the debtors were entitled to claim the full amount of their homestead exemption based on some questionable monetary transfers. The court reasoned that a debtors’ homestead exemption “can be reduced to the extent that it was increased with the intent to hinder, delay, or defraud creditors.” The court considered a number of transfers by the debtor and concluded there were “significant transfers made by the Debtors to insiders . . . to increase the equity in their homestead.” Trustee’s objection to debtor’s homestead affirmed.


REGULATORY: Includes EPA, ITA, and NOAA rules and notices.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY: Rule establishes exemptions from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of n-butyl 3-hydroxybutyrate and isopropyl 3-hydroxybutyrate when used as solvents in pesticide formulations applied to growing crops or raw agricultural commodities after harvest; to animals; and to food contact surfaces in public eating places, dairy-processing equipment, and food-processing equipment and utensils.​ Info here.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE ADMINISTRATION:  Notice Department of Commerce is conducting an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on xanthan gum from China. Info here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION:

Rule implementing import provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. This rule establishes conditions for evaluating a harvesting nation’s regulatory program to address incidental and measures to address intentional mortality and serious injury of marine mammals in fisheries exporting fish and fish products to the US. Details here.

Rule implementing catch limits, commercial quotas, and possession limits for the spiny dogfish fishery for fishing years 2016-2018. Info here.

Rule NMFS publishes its proposed List of Fisheries for 2017 as required by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Details here.

Notice the SEDAR Data Best Practices Panel will develop, review, and evaluate best practice recommendations for SEDAR Data Workshops​. Info here.