A comprehensive summary of today’s judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food. Email important additions HERE.
JUDICIAL: Includes food labeling
In IN DEFENSE OF ANIMALS, et al. v. SANDERSON FARMS, INC., No. 20-CV-05293-RS, 2021 WL 4243391 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 17, 2021), the court considered whether In Defense of Animals (“IDA”) had standing to bring the claim and whether Friends of the Earth (“FoE”) is barred from bringing the claim by issue preclusion. FoE had previously brought suit against Sanderson Farms on the ground that its advertisements for chicken were misleading. The previous complaint was dismissed because the plaintiffs lacked standing and the Ninth Circuit upheld the dismissal. Friends of the Earth v. Sanderson Farms, Inc., 992 F.3d 939 (9th Cir. 2021). The case before the Northern District of California presented the same claim, that Sanderson’s marketing was misleading and violated California’s Unfair Competition and False Advertising laws.
The court held that FoE’s claims are precluded because claim preclusion prevents litigation of issues that could have been litigated in an earlier action. All of FoE’s claims are precluded, although FoE undertook new conduct after the previous suit was dismissed, the same issue disposed of the last case and this one.
In regards to IDA’s standing, the court held that they did not have standing to bring the claim. The court stated that “organizational standing requires an injury to the organization itself, not merely its interests.” An organization must be forced to respond to prevent injury, as the order dismissing the previous case noted. IDA did not adequately plead any concrete way in which its mission had been frustrated, the court found that this was not enough. IDA’s diversion of resources claim also failed, conclusory allegations could not support a finding of diversion. The court concluded that IDA could not have standing because there was no injury that was caused by Sanderson.
The case was dismissed, FoE’s complaint was dismissed without leave to amend and IDA’s claim was dismissed with leave to amend.
REGULATORY: AMS, EPA, FSIS
AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE
Final rule reopening the voting period and amends rules and regulations regarding dates for a sign-up period for eligible cotton producers and importers to request a continuance referendum on the 1991 amendments to the Cotton Research and Promotion Order provided for in the Cotton Research and Promotion Act. Info here.
Proposed rule inviting comments on a proposed amendment to the Dairy Promotion and Research Order. The proposal would modify the number of National Dairy Promotion and Research Board members in two of the 12 regions. Info here.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
Final rule establishing an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of styrene- maleic anhydride ethyl amine salt copolymer when used as an inert ingredient in a pesticide chemical formulation. S.A. Ajinomoto Omnichem N.V., submitted a petition to EPA under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, requesting an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance. This regulation eliminates the need to establish a maximum permissible level for residues of styrene- maleic anhydride ethyl amine salt copolymer on food or feed commodities when used in accordance with these exemptions. Info here.
Notice announcing that the EPA has received applications to register pesticide products containing active ingredients not included in any currently registered pesticide products. Pursuant to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, EPA is hereby providing notice of receipt and opportunity to comment on these applications. Info here.
FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICE
Notice announcing that in July 2019, FSIS published and requested comment on a guideline for establishments producing multi-component kit products that contain inspected and assembled meat or poultry components. FSIS is announcing updates to this guideline and responding to comments received on the guideline. FSIS intends for this guideline to help establishments and other food handling facilities producing a multi-component food kit determine whether the kit product needs to be prepared under FSIS inspection and how to label a kit product that contains fully labeled meat or poultry components. Info here.