A comprehensive summary of today’s judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food. Email important additions HERE.
JUDICIAL: Includes food labeling
In Clark v. Westbrae Natural, Inc., No. 20-CV-03221-JSC, 2020 WK 7043879 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 1, 2020), the court considered whether the use of the word “vanilla” on the label of the defendant’s organic unsweetened vanilla soymilk (“the Product”) misrepresents to consumers that the Product’s vanilla flavor is derived exclusively from the vanilla bean plant. Ultimately, the court ruled in favor of the defendant and dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint with leave to amend. In this case, the plaintiff brought several California consumer protection law claims, arguing that the Product’s label deceived consumers into believing that the vanilla flavor is derived exclusively from the vanilla bean when in actuality, the Product’s vanilla flavor comes from multiple different vanillin compounds. The defendant asked the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims because the complaint failed to allege that a reasonable consumer would be deceived by the “vanilla” label. The court agreed with the defendant, finding that plaintiff had failed to allege facts that plausibly support his argument that a reasonable consumer would interpret “vanilla” on the Product’s label to mean that the Product’s flavor is exclusively derived from the vanilla bean. Accordingly, the court has dismissed the case while allowing the plaintiff 20 days to amend and refile the complaint.
REGULATORY: Includes EPA, FWS, NOAA, and RHS
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
Final rule establishes an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of Adipic acid when used as an inert ingredient in antimicrobial pesticide formulations applied to food-contact surfaces in public eating places, dairy-processing equipment, and food-processing equipment and utensils at an end-use concentration not to exceed 100 parts per million. Info here.
Final rule establishes tolerances for residues of sethoxydim in or on basil, dried leaves and basil, fresh leaves. Info here.
FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
Notice announcing findings that eleven species are not warranted for listing as endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Info here.
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION
Final rule modifies Federal permit conditions and imposes participation requirements for certain federally permitted vessels when fishing for Pacific cod in state waters adjacent to the exclusive economic zone of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands during the State of Alaska’s parallel Pacific cod fishery. Info here.
Proposed rule for 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications, apportionments, and Pacific halibut prohibited species catch limits for the groundfish fishery of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). Info here.
Proposed rule for 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications, apportionments, and prohibited species catch allowances for the groundfish fisheries of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) management area. Info here.
RURAL HOUSING SERVICE
Final rule to amend its regulation to remove the stated amount that the Agency will charge for the initial and annual guarantee fees. Info here.