U.S. Department of Agriculture

News & Analysis as of

New Final USDA Rule to Reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter in Poultry

On February 4, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced the issuance of its final rule designed to reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter in raw chicken breasts, legs...more

USDA Declares “Do-Over” on Overhaul of Biotechnology Regulations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (“USDA”) Animal and Plant Health Information Service (“APHIS”) is renewing efforts to amend or replace its existing rules governing plant-based biotechnology, while highlighting possible...more

USDA Announces New Standards to Reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter in Poultry

New standards promulgated by the Food Safety and Inspection Service pose new challenges to the poultry industry. On February 4, the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)...more

Biotechnology: APHIS Seeks Comment on Potentially Significant Changes to Regulations Regarding GE Organisms

According to a Federal Register notice published on February 5, 2016, 81 Fed. Reg. 6225, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced its intent to "prepare a...more

OSTP Announces Second and Third Public Engagement Sessions for Modernizing the Regulatory System for Biotechnology Products

On February 1, 2016, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced the dates and locations for the second and third public engagement sessions that will discuss the July 2, 2015, memorandum entitled...more

Labeling GMO’s — Too Late and Too Much

Commentators arguing that genetically-modified plants (and animals) or “GMO’s” have been prepared by conventional plant breeding, fail to address the central issue driving the debate about the safety of genetically-engineered...more

Navy Launches “Great Green Fleet” Featuring Biofuel Powered Ships

On January 20, 2016, U.S. Navy (Navy) Secretary Ray Mabus and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack launched a Carrier Strike Group (CSG) of ships running up to 50 percent biofuels as part of the "Great...more

California Supreme Court Holds Organic Labeling Suit a Natural Fit in State Court

In December, the California Supreme Court held that a challenge to a farm’s labeling of its herbs as “organic” under state false advertising laws is not preempted by the federal Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (“Organic...more

HHS/USDA Release 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Updated nutritional guidelines emphasize holistic eating patterns over the course of a lifespan. On January 7, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) jointly issued...more

D.C. District Court to Clean Up Indian Farmers and Ranchers Class Action

After years of post-settlement wrangling in a class action lawsuit brought by Native American farmers and ranchers for damages arising from what they claimed was systemic discrimination against them by the U.S. Department of...more

New Funding Available for Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program

The Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announced its 2016 application window for the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program, which is designed to provide access to education,...more

DOE, EPA, And USDA Release Biogas Opportunities Roadmap Progress Report

On December 16, 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the Biogas Opportunities Roadmap Progress Report. The report shows the...more

Obama Administration Lays Out 2016 Regulatory Plans for Food and Agriculture

President Obama’s administration recently released its Regulatory Plan, which lays out department-specific regulatory priorities. Of interest to the food and agriculture industry are the agendas from the U.S. Department of...more

Careful: New Inspection Guidance for Poultry Processing Facilities

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration recently issued its “Inspection Guidance for Poultry Slaughtering and Poultry Processing Establishments” (October 28, 2015). OSHA explains in the Guidance that workers...more

USDA REAP loan guarantee Maine funding available

Funding is available for energy projects at Maine's rural small businesses and agricultural producers through the USDA Rural Development agency's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). At stake is about $200 million in...more

Food Safety, Labeling, and Nutrition Update - December 2015 #2

As 2015 wraps up, there have been several important developments in Food Safety, Labeling, and Nutrition, most notably the FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Bill expected to pass the House and Senate on Friday, December 18. The...more

Don’t Deceive Me: Claims for Mislabeled Organic Food in CA

If a food is labeled organic, but is not actually organic, can a consumer bring state law claims under consumer protection statutes? In California, it appears that the answer is yes. In a recent case, Quesada v. Herb Thyme...more

California Supreme Court Holds That Federal Organic Food Labeling Regime Does Not Preempt Claims of “Intentional” Mislabeling

What’s the difference between claiming that a food product is improperly certified as organic and claiming that the producer was properly certified but the product isn’t really organic? A unanimous California Supreme Court...more

California Opens Courts to State Claims re: “Organic” Food

And the California Supreme Court said “Let there be more litigation” and there was more litigation. This week, the California Supreme Court held that private citizens (i.e. class action plaintiffs’ attorneys) can bring...more

The Continuing Conundrum of the California Food Fight

We have blogged regularly about the plethora of litigation, largely centered in California, focused on the labeling of food, beverage, cosmetics, and consumer goods. Nationwide, consumers are demanding more information from...more

Food for Thought: Organic Food Act Doesn't Preempt Certain State Law Mislabeling Claims

On December 3, the California Supreme Court unanimously held that state law claims of intentional mislabeling produce as organic are not preempted by the Organic Food Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. §§ 6501-6522). In Quesada v. Herb...more

Organic Label Due Diligence Is Critical After CA Supreme Court Approves Lawsuits

The Supreme Court of California ruled last week that consumers could assert claims under California consumer protection statutes for intentionally mislabeling products as “organic.” In a unanimous opinion, the court reversed...more

Advisory Committee On Biotechnology And 21st Century Agriculture To Meet

On November 19, 2015, the USDA published Notice of the Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture (AC21) Meeting in the Federal Register. The meeting will review the purpose, history, operational...more

Phase I Of The Nutrient Recycling Challenge Competition Announced

On November 12, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other environmental and scientific experts to create the Nutrient Recycling...more

What Does “Natural” Mean To You? FDA Solicits Comments & Information On Use Of The Term On Food Labels As It Considers Rulemaking

While FDA action has been long anticipated, it comes as a surprise in light of the FDA’s conscious abstention on the term thus far. For example, despite publishing a proposed rule and soliciting comments on defining the term...more

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