Disposing of consumable food is an unfortunate reality on many farms and in many food businesses. Sometimes food that is disposed can be donated. In a previous post, Paul wrote about the legal protections for Maryland farmers who allow organizations such as the Maryland Food Bank onto farms to glean food from fields. There are also legal protections and tax incentives for the direct donation of food to non-profit organizations.Read More
This article was published in the December 3rd Edition of the Lancaster Farmer
Have you seen labels on your food or at the grocer that say “raised without the use of hormones” or “raised without antibiotics”? These phrases, as well as the more common terms like “organic” and “grass fed,” refer to the way that the source of animal for a meat or poultry was raised. These labels need to be approved and evaluated before they can be used.Read More
This article first appeared in the April 26th Edition of the Delmarva Farmer
If you have not heard of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) yet, you will likely be hearing about it more this year. We have also written posts on the blog! What is FSMA? In short, it is legislation amending the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to mandate preventive-based controls across the food supply chain. Not only does this include the U.S. food supply but a greater oversight of the millions of food products entering the United States from other countries every year as well.Read More
If you read last week’s post on Vermont’s genetically modified organisms (GMO) labeling bill, you should be up to speed on what is going on at the state level when GMO labeling is discussed. To review, on April 23, 2014, Vermont became the first state requiring labeling of GMO foods. Vermont’s legislature approved a bill requiring raw agricultural commodities and processed foods offered for sale in Vermont retail stores to display special labeling (with certain exceptions) if those foods are entirely or partially produced with genetic modified products. The law will be effective July 1, 2016.Read More
Not too long ago, I gave an overview of genetically modified organisms and labeling laws in respect to them. To summarize, there is currently no Federal law requiring a label to state that a product contains genetically modified products. It is also important to note there is no Federal definition of genetically modified.
With that said, on April 23, 2014, Vermont became the first state requiring labeling of GMO foods. Vermont’s legislature approved a bill requiring raw agriculture commodities and processed foods offered for sale in Vermont retail stores, with certain exceptions, to display special labeling if entirely or partially produced with genetic modified products. The law is supposed to become effective July 1, 2016, although Vermont, the first of its kind among states, has already faced challenges.
In April, U.S. District Court Judge Christina Reiss ruled against the Grocery Manufacturers’’ Association (GMA) and other industry groups in their request for a preliminary order to stop the law from going into effect on July 1, 2016. GMA is now appealing the Federal court ruling. Let’s take a look at what exactly a preliminary order is and what is taken into consideration when denying or granting the order.
A preliminary order, or preliminary injunction, can be entered by a court prior to a final determination of the facts, legal arguments, and the like, which go into a full legal court case. The order would restrain a party from following through with a presented course of conduct. A preliminary order should only be granted when the requesting party is highly likely to succeed on the merits (facts, legal arguments, etc.) of the case and there is a substantial likelihood of irreparable harm unless the order is granted. Here, if GMA can show irreparable harm and is highly likely to succeed on the merits, the court may grant the order to stop the GMO labeling law from becoming effective before the full court hearing. That is not, however, what Judge Reiss decided.
Judge Reiss has said that showing irreparable harm is the most important requirement for issuing a preliminary order to stop the law from going into effect. Here, the Judge believes that GMA and other industry groups have only shown the possibility of harm, which does not meet the standard required for a preliminary order. GMA has filed a notice of appeal in Vermont Federal district court and will eventually file a legal brief outlining the associations’ arguments for the appeal in the coming weeks.
So why is Vermont’s law important to Maryland’s producers and processors? If Vermont’s labeling law stands against constitutional challenges, among other challenges, other state governments are bound to follow suit. This labeling law will impact the food industry substantially. With such a large possible impact, producers and processors should stay abreast of GMO labeling laws. Monitoring Vermont’s law may tell us what we can expect from other states, including Maryland, as the GMO labeling movement proceeds.
Happy Friday, everyone. Here's our weekly roundup of news and events, including Justice Antonin Scalia's death and what it means for ag, important crop insurance dates, and upcoming events.Read More
The question of business address on a food label is really quite common. You might be wondering, why would someone make the food that he or she sells at a community licensed kitchen but do everything else from his or her home? The easiest answer is because it can be costly to license your at-home kitchen for processing and the requirements to be met may not allow for a typical family environment in the at-home kitchen. Local and state zoning, waste disposal, and other laws may also apply which can also make an at-home kitchen license a less appealing venture.Read More