A comprehensive summary of today’s judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food. Email important additions HERE.
LEGISLATIVE: Includes Kansas, Maryland
SB 346 allows for the on-farm sale of milk and milk products, authorizing the state’s secretary of agriculture to declare an imminent health hazard, extending certain milk and dairy license fees and establishing certain standards for milk. Info here.
HB 884 requires that state conservation land shall be managed in a way that prohibits logging whenever the Department of Natural Resources identifies an old-growth forest. Info here.\
Judicial: Food Labeling, Labor
In MOLLY BROWN, Plaintiff, v. VAN’S INTERNATIONAL FOODS, INC., Defendant., No. 22-CV-00001-WHO, 2022 WL 1471454 (N.D. Cal. May 10, 2022), the court considered whether defendant’s waffle products front-label protein statements were misleading. Plaintiff argued that the product was misleading because the front label’s protein statement did not account for digestibility. The court found that the FDA does not require protein content claims to adjust for digestibility. Plaintiff also argued that the defendant’s violated state law by making a protein claim on the front label without including the corrected amount of protein per serving (the digestibility-adjusted figure, expressed as a percent of daily value) in the Nutrition Facts panel. The court found that this argument was not expressly preempted by FDA regulations because it is based on an alleged violation of FDA regulations. The court dismissed plaintiff’s claims regarding digestibility arguments without leave to amend. The rest of plaintiff’s claims were dismissed with leave to amend.
In Martinez-Rodriguez v. Giles, 31 F.4th 1139 (9th Cir. 2022), plaintiffs appealed the district courts grant of summary judgment regarding violation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) that prohibits forced labor and trafficking of persons into forced labor. Six citizens of Mexico, licensed veterinarians or animal scientists alleged that they were recruited to work as “Animal Scientists” at Idaho dairy farm under the “TN Visa” program for “professional” employees established under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) but were instead required to work substantially as general laborers. The court held that plaintiffs presented sufficient evidence to raise genuine disputes of material fact as to whether farm knowingly obtained the labor of plaintiffs through abuse of law or legal process, so as to satisfy the actus reus requirement of the forced labor provision of the TVPRA, and plaintiffs presented sufficient evidence to raise a genuine dispute of material fact as to whether farm knew of the coercive pressures that were inherent in its abuse of the TN Visa program and in its references to deportation upon termination and whether farm intended for plaintiffs to succumb to those pressures, so as to satisfy the mens rea requirement for a forced labor claim. The court reversed the district court decision and remanded the case.
REGULATORY: EPA, FWS, NOAA, USDA
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
Notice making available the Environmental Impact Statements EPA received between May 2, 2022 and May 9, 2022. Info here.
FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
Proposed rule announcing the availability of the final supplemental environmental impact statement on the proposed revisions to the regulations for the nonessential experimental population designation of the Mexican wolf and our draft record of decision, under the National Environmental Policy Act. Info here.
Notice announcing that FWS is initiating 5-year status reviews for 35 species under the Endangered Species Act. A 5-year review is an assessment of the best scientific and commercial data available at the time of the review. Info here.
Notice announcing the availability of a final environmental impact statement, which analyzes a proposed habitat conservation plan developed by Thurston County, Washington. Info here.
NATIONAL OCEANIC ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION
Notice announcing that NOAA/NMFS has issued a Renewal incidental harassment authorization to Ocean Wind LLC to incidentally harass marine mammals incidental to marine site characterization survey activities off the coast of New Jersey. Info here.
United States Department of Agriculture
Notice announcing that the Rural Business-Cooperative Service, a USDA agency, is accepting fiscal year 2022 applications for the Delta Health Care Services grant program. Info here.