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What do FDA’s Preventive Controls Rules Actually Mean?

St. Louis Partner Brandon Neuschafer authored an article Nov. 10 in Refrigerated & Frozen Foods magazine concerning the FDA’s Preventive Controls Rules. Released on Sept. 10, the rules aim to shift the focus of U.S. food safety away from incident response and toward prevention. “FDA expects that many large facilities are already doing a vast majority of what is now being required,” Neuschafer wrote. “Those facilities may still need to develop additional documentation or tweak procedures. Interesting and complicated issues swirl around companies who are not themselves food facilities, but are technology and equipment providers to such facilities.” Click here to read his full article.

The Demise of Country of Origin Labeling (COOL)

The Demise of Country of Origin Labeling (COOL)

May 26, 2015

Authored by: Sara Ahmed

Digest has been tracking the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (“COOL”) rules that the WTO decided last year violate international fair trade rules.  It was the third time the WTO found COOL to be unfairly discriminatory.

In response to the threat of retaliation by Canada and Mexico, last week, the House Agricultural Committee voted to repeal a portion of COOL.  Under the bill, beef, pork, and chicken products will likely no longer state where the animals were born, slaughtered, and packaged.  The USDA had previously tried to no avail to revamp the rules upon the WTO’s prior rulings.

The U.S. National Farmers Union’s President, Roger Johnson, has been vocal in his feelings against the move to repeal portions of COOL and stated: “The House Agriculture Committee has succumbed to lobbying and scare tactics from foreign governments and multinational meatpackers and inserted itself prematurely into the WTO process by voting for a bill

WTO Rules on Country of Origin Labeling

WTO Rules on Country of Origin Labeling

October 23, 2014

Authored by: Sara Ahmed

You may recall prior Digest posts regarding the World Trade Organization’s evaluation of the validity of the US Country of Origin Labeling (“COOL”) law.

On Monday, the WTO decided against the United States and has held that the COOL violates international fair trade rules. This is the third time the WTO has found COOL to be unfairly discriminatory and it is instigating Canada and Mexico to prepare to impose trade sanctions on US products such as wine and chocolate.

Consumer groups have also voiced their disappointment about the recent decision. Renee Hunt, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farming Association, an organic advocacy group, said: “It comes at the expense of consumers and American livestock farmers…Consumers want to have the choice of where their meat comes from, but, instead, Big Ag’s interests are protected.”  Chris Waldrop, policy director at

Russia Sanctions Row Turns Into a Food Fight

In response to increasing pressure from individual and sectoral sanctions imposed by the United States, EU, Canada, Norway, and Australia, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced today that Russia will impose a total ban on imports into Russia of beef, pork, poultry, fish, preserved meats, sausages, fruit, vegetables, nuts, cheese, milk and dairy products from those countries.  The ban is to last for one year and is effective immediately.  While Mr. Medvedev suggested that the ban could be reconsidered within the one year time frame if the situation were to de-escalate, he also suggested that broader retaliatory measures could be taken if Western sanctions continue.  

News reports indicate that the ban could have significant effects on EU producers, for whom Russia is the second largest market.  EU pork had already been banned by Russia at the outset of EU sanctions, inflicting particular pain on Polish pork producers, who rely heavily

USDA Prevails at the D.C. Circuit

USDA Prevails at the D.C. Circuit

July 31, 2014

Authored by: Sara Ahmed

Yesterday, a D.C. Circuit decision came down upholding the country of origin labeling requirements (“COOL”). COOL is the law that requires retailers licensed under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act to, among other things, label certain meat products with information regarding where the animal was born, raised, and slaughtered.

In yesterday’s ruling, the Court took an expansive approach to the Zauderer standard and held that, at least in the context of meat labeling, the government can compel commercial speech for reasons beyond preventing deception.

Included in those reasons the court cited to were: “the context and long history of country-of-origin disclosures to enable consumers to choose American-made products; the demonstrated consumer interest in extending country-of-origin labeling to food products; and the individual health concerns and market impacts that can arise in the event of a food-borne illness outbreak.”

Dissenting Judge Janice Rogers Brown criticized that the ruling means “a business owner no longer has a

FDA Extends Comment Period on Food Transportation Rule

FDA has extended the public comment period on its proposed “Sanitary Transportation of human and Animal Food” rule, which was originally published on February 15, 2014.  The new due date for comments is July 30, 2014, sixty days from the original due date of May 31, 2014.

Information regarding the proposed rule can be found here.  This rule is part of a series of new rules proposed by FDA to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011.  As further explained by FDA:

The goal of the proposed rule on the sanitary transportation of human and animal food is to prevent practices that create food safety risks, such as failure to properly refrigerate food, inadequate cleaning of vehicles between loads, and failure to properly protect food during transportation. The proposed rule addresses the sanitary transportation of both human and animal food traveling via motor or rail vehicle by establishing

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