A comprehensive summary of today’s judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food. Email important additions HERE.


ANNOUNCEMENT: 

Join us Wednesday, July 25th, at 12 noon (ET) for an Agricultural & Food Law Consortium webinar: Compliance with DOL and Immigration Laws and Regulations for Agricultural Businesses. Details available here.

REGISTER NOW for our upcoming Ag Technology & the Law conference, August 15 and 16 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Details here.


JUDICIAL: Includes food safety and nutrition program issues.

In DAKOTA STYLE FOODS, INC.; Plaintiff, v. SUNOPTA GRAINS AND FOODS, INC., Defendant, 1:16-CV-01036-CBK, 2018 WL 3383429 (D.S.D. July 11, 2018), plaintiff sued to recover damages incurred by defendant’s recall of shelled sunflower kernels, and alleged strict products liability, negligence, and breach of warranties. Both parties moved for summary judgment and issue was a factual dispute as to “whether product specifications were included in the parties’ contracts and whether [defendant] knew that [plaintiff] used its sunflower kernels for human consumption.” Defendant contended there was no express warranty because the product specifications “were not included in the contracts” at issue and the product specifications “disclaim any warranty.” Appellate court reasoned that “[n]o reasonable jury could return a verdict for SunOpta, based on the evidence that it has provided, that the product specifications provided by Dakota Style were not included in the contracts.” Motions for summary judgment denied.

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Lakeya Sheonna CREECH, Defendant-Appellant, No. 17-13733, 2018 WL 3385412 (11th Cir. July 11, 2018) involved defendant’s appeal that she pay restitution following her guilty plea to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Defendant fraudulently collected payments from the USDA “in exchange for fictitious food sales.” Defendant claimed USDA failed to prove the restitution amount because no evidence “conclusively established the actual loss amount” and the government was unable to “give a ‘precise number’ regarding the total amount of monies and/or transactions that were fraudulent.” Lower court relied on the testimony of a USDA agent that had “access to all the USDA transactional records as well as the bank records for [defendant’s business].” Appellate court was persuaded by the agent’s testimony and additional evidence provided by the government. Lower court’s restitution order affirmed.


LEGISLATIVE: 

H.R. 200: Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act. This bill’s text for status Passed the House (Jul 11, 2018) is now available.

H.R. 577: To designate a peak in the State of Nevada as Maude Frazier Mountain. Ordered to be Reported by Unanimous Consent.

H.R. 1482: To authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to maintain or replace certain facilities and structures for commercial recreation services at Smith Gulch in Idaho. Ordered to be Reported by Unanimous Consent.

H.R. 2075: Crooked River Ranch Fire Protection Act. This bill’s text for status Passed the House (Jul 11, 2018) is now available.

H.R. 2786: To amend the Federal Power Act with respect to the criteria and process to qualify as a qualifying conduit hydropower facility. This bill’s text for status Reported by Senate Committee (Jul 11, 2018) is now available

S. 1459: Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Park Act of 2017. Text for status Reported by Senate Committee (Jul 11, 2018) is now available.

S. 1646: President Street Station Study Act. Text for status Reported by Senate Committee (Jul 11, 2018) is now available.

H.R. 3764: Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians Restoration Act of 2017. Ordered to be Reported (Amended) by Unanimous Consent.

H.R. 5613: Quindaro Townsite National Historic Landmark Act. Ordered to be Reported (Amended) by Unanimous Consent.

H.R. 6077: National Comedy Center Recognition Act. Ordered to be Reported by Unanimous Consent.

H.R. 6302: To enact as law certain regulations relating to the taking of double-crested cormorants. Ordered to be Reported (Amended) by the Yeas and Nays: 19 – 13.

S. 3192: A bill to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to update and modernize the reporting requirements for contaminants, including lead, in drinking water. Referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

H.R. 6336: Fair Access for Farmers and Ranchers Act of 2018. Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture.

H.R. 6339: To prohibit the use of Federal funds by the Department of Health and Human Services to award a grant for any virtual reality platform designed to teach children in China how to cross the street. Referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

S. 3193: A bill to limit the establishment or extension of national monuments in the State of Utah. Referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.


REGULATORY: Includes EPA, FWS, FDA, ITA and NOAA rules and notices.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY:

Rule EPA is approving a state implementation plan (SIP) revision submitted by the State of Maryland. Details here.

Rule EPA is approving a state implementation plan (SIP) revision submitted by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Info here.

Rule EPA Region 5 is issuing a Notice of Intent to Delete the Former Beloit Corporation Research Center Property (RCP) of the Beloit Corporation Superfund Site (Site), in Rockton, Illinois, from the National Priorities List (NPL) and requests public comments on this proposed action. Details here.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE:

Rule to comply with a court order that vacated provisions of regulations governing control of depredating double-crested cormorants at aquaculture facilities and for control of double-crested cormorants to protect public resources. Info here.

FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION:

Notice FDA is announcing that a proposed collection of information has been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. Title: New Animal Drugs for Investigational Use. Info here.

Notice FDA is announcing that a proposed collection of information has been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. Title: Petition to Request Exemption from 100 Percent Identity Testing of Dietary Ingredients: Current Good Manufacturing Practice in Manufacturing, Packaging. Details here.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE ADMINISTRATION:

Notice ITA determines that 230 companies made sales of certain frozen warmwater shrimp (shrimp) from India at less than normal value during the period of review (POR) February 1, 2016, through January 31, 2017. Info here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION:

Rule NMFS requests information from the public to support a national initiative to reform and streamline observer program insurance requirements. Info here.

Notice NMFS announces the receipt of an application for an exempted fishing permit (EFP) from the NMFS Panama City, FL laboratory. Details here.

Notice the Secretary of Commerce established three independent regional scientific review groups (SRGs) to provide advice on a range of marine mammal science and management issues. Info here.