A comprehensive summary of today’s judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food. Email important additions HERE.
JUDICIAL: Food labeling
In Animal Legal Def. Fund v. Hormel Foods Corp., No. 19-CV-0397, 2021 WL 3921512 (D.C. Sept. 2, 2021), the District of Columbia Court of Appeals considered whether the Animal Legal Defense Fund (“ALDF”) had standing to sue Hormel Foods. The ALDF sued Hormel Foods in connection with meat products it advertises as “Natural Choice.” ALDF claimed the ads are misleading in violation of the District of Columbia’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act (“CPPA”).
The D.C. Superior Court granted summary judgment in Hormel’s favor, finding that ALDF lacked standing to bring suit. The D.C. Superior Court also addressed the merits, concluding that ALDF’s claims were preempted by federal laws regulating the labeling of meat and poultry products.
In the ALDF’s appeal it argued: (1) that the CPPA modifies Article III standing requirements with a statutory test that the ALDF satisfied; (2) the ALDF had Article III standing under the “organizational standing” doctrine; and (3) the ALDF’s claims are not preempted by federal law.
The District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the ALDF in regards to the CPPA. The court concluded that CPPA confers standing upon public interest organizations bringing suit on behalf of the interests of a consumer or a class of consumers, so long as they have a sufficient nexus to adequately represent those interests. The court also held that the CPPA conveys a clear legislative intent to modify Article III’s limits with a statutory test governing public interest organizations’ standing to bring a CPPA claim.
The court held that because ALDF met the CPPA statutory test, it had standing to sue without regard to whether it also satisfied traditional Article III standing requirements. The court did not address ALDF’s second issue on appeal. The court also held that in regards to the third issue on appeal, federal labeling laws do not preempt ALDF’s claims. The claims only focus on Hormel’s advertisements beyond its product labels, and not the labels themselves. The court reversed the trial court’s judgment and remanded for further proceedings.
REGULATORY: AMS, EPA, FWS
AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE
Proposed rule inviting comments on the proposed termination of the Federal marketing order regulating the handling of Irish potatoes grown in Washington, and the rules and regulations issued thereunder. Info here.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
Notice announcing that the EPA issued a notice in the Federal Register of April 2, 2021, concerning the cancellations and amendments to terminate uses voluntarily requested by the registrants and accepted by the Agency. This document is being issued to correct the cancellation order in Table 1 of Unit I, by removing the registration number 66570-2 and Table 3 of Unit I, by removing EPA company number 66570, as these entries were made in error. Info here.
Notice announcing the EPA’s order for the cancellations, voluntarily requested by the registrants and accepted by the Agency, of the products listed in Table 1 of Unit II, pursuant to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. This cancellation order follows a February 17, 2021, Federal Register Notice of Receipt of Requests from the registrants listed in Table 2 of Unit II to voluntarily cancel these product registrations. Info here.
FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
Proposed rule announcing FWS’s 90-day finding in response to a petition to revise critical habitat for the jaguar (Panthera onca) pursuant to the Endangered Species Act. Info here.
Proposed rule announcing that FSW proposes to designate critical habitat for the Miami tiger beetle (Cicindelidia floridana) under the Endangered Species Act. Info here.
Proposed rule announcing that FWS, announce our 12-month finding on a petition to list the pyramid pigtoe (Pleurobema rubrum), a freshwater mussel species from Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Virginia, as an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Info here.