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California Recognizes State Claim for Foods Mislabeled as “Organic”

On December 3, 2015, the California Supreme Court held that a claim for intentionally mislabeling produce as “organic” is not preempted by the federal regulatory regime for certifying organic growers. This decision may tend to increase exposure to companies endorsing products as “organic” under California state law false advertising, unfair competition, and other consumer protection claims based on alleged misuse of the term “organic.”

Click here to read the Alert.

Not So “Fresh” Label and Advertising Claims Can Result In Litigation

“Fresh” is quickly becoming a not-so-fresh battleground for consumer-brought false advertising lawsuits as we see more and more actions challenging the use of “fresh” in advertising and labels for food and beverages.

Most recently, a federal district court in Illinois certified a class of consumers who claim that they were misled into believing that single-serving coffee cartridges contained “fresh” coffee, when in reality it was instant coffee. In another case filed this year in New Jersey, Whole Foods and Wegmans were sued for using the terms “baked fresh” or “fresh baked” in connection with their breads – the lawsuit claimed that these phrases indicated that the breads were made from scratch when instead the products were simply re-heated in the store (the suit was since dismissed on “standing” and injury issues).  And, an Australian court recently ruled that the Coles supermarkets could not use “Freshly Baked” to describe bread that

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.

FSMA Final Rule on Preventive Controls for Human & Animal Food

September 25, 2015

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On September 17, 2015, the FDA announced two new final rules for the Food Safety Modernization Act (“FSMA”) (Pub. L. 111-353). The two new final rules are: (1) Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food and (2) Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Animal Food.

Covered facilities, which exclude farms, must create and implement a food safety systems that includes:

  • Hazard analysis: identification of known or reasonably foreseeable biological, chemical, and physical hazards
  • Preventive controls: measures that assure identified hazards can be minimized or prevented
  • Monitoring, verification, and corrective action plans for use of preventive controls; additionally, each animal food facility with a preventive control in place must develop a recall plan

For animal food facilities, Current Good Manufacturing Practices (“cGMP”) are being established for the first time. The animal food rule contains FDA’s baseline

FDA Extends Menu Labeling Rule Compliance Date Until December 1, 2016

This morning, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Michael Taylor announced that FDA is extending the compliance date for the menu labeling rules one year, making the new compliance date December 1, 2016.  Since finalizing the menu labeling rules in December of 2014, FDA states that it “has had extensive dialogue with chain restaurants, covered grocery stores and other covered businesses, and answered numerous questions on how the rule can be implemented in specific situations.”  Certainly, businesses impacted by the rule have been grappling with the substance and logistics of implementing the menu labeling rules, including working with suppliers to obtain additional information about products.  This alone can be a tricky proposition for items like alcohol and craft beers, where nutritional information required by the menu labeling rules is not always readily available.  The extension will allow all parties impacted by the menu labeling rules – a group

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

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