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New Federal Law Will Require Disclosure of GMO Content in Food

A new federal law will require food makers to disclose when foods contain genetically modified ingredients.

The law, which was recently signed by President Obama, will require such food products to be labeled with text, a symbol, or an electronic code readable by smartphone indicating the presence of GMOs. Small businesses will also have the option to label food products with a telephone number or Internet website directing customers to additional information.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has two years to draft regulations concerning which products require such disclosure, and additional details concerning what food makers must do to comply. After the regulations are finalized, food makers will have at least another year before the law takes effect.

Law preempts state and local GMO labeling laws.

The federal law preempts a similar Vermont law, Act 120, that took effect in July, as well as any other state or local

FTC Takes Action Against Personal Care Product Companies for Making False All-Natural Claims

“Natural” claims aren’t just for the food industry – the Federal Trade Commission recently approved four final consent orders against companies that allegedly misrepresented their personal care products as “All-Natural” or “100% Natural,” despite the fact that they contain man-made ingredients. For more information, see the alert posted here.

Prop 65 Developments – Notices of Violation for BPA in Receipts and Containers and OEHHA’s Listing of Styrene and Pesticides

Bryan Cave attorney Merrit Jones recently published two client alerts regarding California’s Prop 65 that impact the food and agriculture industries.

The first alert relates to the bisphenol-A (BPA) listing that took effect on May 11, 2016.  Already, two notices of violation have been served alleging harmful exposure to the chemical without providing a warning. One notice alleges BPA in receipt paper, and another alleges BPA in plastic water cooler jugs.  BPA is believed to be present in a wide variety of plastic consumer products, including many reusable food and drink containers, as well as in the epoxy lining in most canned food and beverage containers.  OEHHA has adopted an emergency regulation authorizing temporary point-of-sale warnings for exposure to BPA from canned and bottled food and beverages. That regulation is expected to remain in effect for more than a year in order to allow manufacturers time to implement alternatives

The FDA Dishes Out Food Label Changes

The current food label will soon be no more. After two decades, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just finalized the new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods. Making it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices, the FDA announced that the changes are based a combination of public input, updated scientific information, new nutrition and public health research, and more recent dietary recommendations from expert groups.

For more information on the label changes from the Bryan Cave Food and Beverage Industry Team, see this client alert.

SWS/Kroger Category Management Program Toes the Line on “Tied House” Restrictions — TTB Ruling Raises as Many Questions as it Answers

February 24, 2016


On February 11, the TTB released ruling 2016-1 in response to beverage alcohol industry players and trade groups questioning an initiative by Kroger and Southern Wine & Spirits, which would reportedly require payment by wholesalers to merchandisers selected by Kroger to direct the placement of brands and bottles on Kroger shelves across the country. Many in the industry saw this initiative as a possible violation of the “Tied House” rules designed to prevent unfair competitive practices across the industry’s three tiers (27 U.S.C. § 205). TTB’s ruling seeks to clarify what is and what is not permissible in terms of shelf plans and shelf schematics, but the ruling comes with a twist that may very well shake up established category management practices.

The ruling states that “[f]urnishing retailers with a shelf plan or shelf schematic… is not an inducement” in violation of the Tied House rules.   This is nothing new

The European Commission Takes Back the Reins on Novel Food

With the continuing influx of foreign foods, algae, insects, microorganisms and foods with new molecular structures in our diets, the European Union has decided to put in place a harmonized procedure to vet – or not – these “novel foods” before they are placed on the market. This procedure is set out in the recent EU-wide Regulation which will enter into force beginning 2018. “Novel food” is defined as any food product which was not generally consumed in the European Union before 1997 (the date of the first European legislation on this subject) or innovative food developed using new technologies.

Bryan Cave lawyers Kathie Claret and Raphael Roditi prepared this article on the new regulation, which will be of interest to food manufacturers and importers in the EU.

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