Category Archives: Food and Beverage

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Update – Ninth Circuit Rules on Local Efforts to Block GMOs

Last year, we followed the story of ballot efforts on a local level to preclude GMO crops from being grown in certain counties in Hawaii. The ballot initiatives, which banned GMO crops within the borders of the counties, passed by narrow margins, but were immediately struck down in court after a challenge from various agricultural companies. Local organizations filed an appeal to the Ninth Circuit, seeking to overturn the District Court decision stating that the ballot initiatives were preempted by federal and state laws. The…

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474161813

Federal Legislation to Label GMOs Moves Through Senate

Back in June, a new Senate bill was proposed which would require food manufacturers to label products which contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). As of last week, the bill has cleared the first hurdle and will be debated with a limit of 30 hours on the floor, and voted on as early as this week. For those in the food industry, there has long been wind of such an effort being made at the federal level, but until recently, none held any strength. But, with…

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A Novel Defense: The Truth

Tetley USA, Inc. is currently defending a false-labeling lawsuit in the Northern District of California (De Keczer v. Tetley USA, Inc., Docket No. 5:12-cv-02409-EJD), filed several years ago on the premise that the plaintiff was deceived by the label saying that the teas provided antioxidants that were good for his health. From the beginning, the plaintiff (and proposed class action) fell short in asserting valid claims, and in a showing of utmost patience from the court, the complaint has been dismissed and amended…

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Inaugural Food Litigation ExecuSummit

On February 2-3, 2016, Goldberg Segalla’s Andrew J. Scholz and Joseph J. Welter , partners in the firm’s Product Liability Practice Group,  are slated to speak at the Inaugural Food Litigation ExecuSummit in Uncasville, CT. The day-and-a-half conference — of which Andrew is Chair — will feature insight from those at the forefront of food law and litigation, including those monitoring and researching emerging issues, trends, and liabilities. Andrew will present his program, “Effective Strategies in Defending an Adulterated Food Claim” and Joe will present…

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No GMO.

Update — Local Governments Can’t Stop GMOs

In July, we wrote about a ballot initiative that banned GMOs in Maui County, Hawaii, which passed by a slim margin of 51 percent. It was challenged immediately in Federal Court by a collaboration of agricultural companies, and the law was struck down. The same issue is now a matter of appeal (login credentials required) before the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The backers of the initiative are seeking to overturn the District Court decision that stated the law was preempted by various…

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No GMO.

Local Governments Can’t Stop GMOs

In the November election cycle last year, the voters of Maui County, Hawaii passed an initiative that banned most genetically engineered food and plant products from being grown within the county’s borders.  The measure passed by a slim 51% majority, and immediately faced legal action by agricultural companies seeking to enjoin the county from enforcing the ordinance.  Simultaneously, some county residents filed an action seeking a declaratory judgment that the ordinance was valid and needed to be certified and implemented. Last week, the United States…

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GMOs – the Battle Continues between EU and US

The European Union has decided that individual countries can make decisions regarding the use of GMOs within their own borders, separate and distinct from decisions made by the parliament on behalf of all 28 member countries. The agreement was drafted to allow governments to block the cultivation of certain GMOs in their countries, even if the EU parliament has already approved them. Generally speaking, the Europeans have held a much stricter stance on GMOs than those in the United States.  In fact, most of the…

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Food Technology: Charting Unknown Territories

The ever-changing industry of food products is one that is hard to keep up with. Much like electronics, or cars, or even toys, the industry is consistently innovating and creating new technologies and applying them to the food that we eat. Engineering our food products is not new – it has been around for decades on a large scale. In previous posts on this blog, we have addressed some of the legal implications of genetically modified foods and labeling claims related to organic or all-natural…

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Unsure What “Natural” Means? That’s Natural…

As anyone who has entered a grocery store in recent years has noticed, there has been a proliferation of foods and beverages claiming to be “natural.” This is not surprising, as according to market research, there is a large percentage of Americans who seek out and buy these types of products. Unfortunately, the FDA has not provided a clear statutory definition of what “natural” means. However, despite this regulatory uncertainty, manufacturers, suppliers, marketers, and retailers of such “natural” foods and beverages can glean some guidance…

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