A comprehensive summary of today’s judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food. Email important additions HERE.
JUDICIAL: Includes food labeling
In Turtle Island Foods SPC Tofurky Co. v. Soman, No. 4:19-CV-00514-KGB (E.D. Ark. Sept. 30, 2022), a federal court reviewed the plaintiff’s challenges to an Arkansas state law prohibiting the sale of food items that are improperly labeled. Specifically, the law would prevent the plaintiff from selling its vegetable-based meat products if the labeling uses terms related to traditional meat items such as “sausage,” or “chorizo.” The plaintiff claimed that several provisions of the Arkansas state law violated both the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. In this action, the plaintiff asked the court to permanently enjoin the State of Arkansas from enforcing the law. Ultimately, the court agreed with some of the plaintiff’s claims, but disagreed with others.
In order to issue a permanent injunction, the court must determine whether the plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits of its claims. Here, the court found that the plaintiff was likely to succeed on the merits of some of its First Amendment claims. Specifically, the court concluded that the plaintiff was likely to show that the Arkansas state law placed too many restrictions on the plaintiff’s right to commercial speech. Additionally, the court found that the plaintiff was likely to succeed in its argument that section 2-1-305(10) of the law violates the Due Process Clause because the wording of the provision is so vague that a regulated party would be unable to determine whether the law applied to their actions. The court concluded that section 2-1-305(10) of the challenged state law should be enjoined statewide, while other provisions should be enjoined only as applied to the plaintiff.
LEGISLATIVE: Includes Missouri
HB 3 modifies various provisions governing agricultural economic opportunities, such as providing tax credits for certain agricultural lenders. The bill also establishes the Specialty Agricultural Crops Act which authorizes the Missouri agricultural and small business development authority to provide for family farmers with loans for the purpose of planting and harvesting specialty crops; revises the definition of “small farmer” to mean a Missouri resident who has less than $500,000 in gross sales per year. Info here.
REGULATORY: Includes FWS, NOAA
FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
Proposed rule to list the San Francisco Bay-Delta distinct population segment of longfin smelt (Spirinchus thaleichthys) (Bay-Delta longfin smelt), a fish species of the Pacific Coast, as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. Info here.
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION
Notice announcing a request from the U.S. Navy for authorization to take small numbers of marine mammals incidental to construction activities associated with the replacement of Pier 3 at Naval Station Norfolk over the course of 5 years from the date of issuance. Info here.