Category Archives: Regulatory Compliance

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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FDA Postpones Affordable Care Act Menu Labeling Changes

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known commonly as “Obamacare,” established major regulatory overhauls to the U.S. healthcare system. In addition to provisions directly affecting the purchase and implementation of health insurance, the Affordable Care Act includes many reforms affecting businesses outside of the healthcare market, including language requiring all chain restaurants and other establishments with at least 20 locations to list nutritional information alongside each and every item on their menu. Consistent with this requirement, the Food and Drug Administration issued a…

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OSHA’s HazCom Rule and Personal Injury Suits

Last year, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) published a rule that modified its Hazard Communication (HazCom) requirements governing how chemical manufacturers, employers, and other organizations convey hazard information to employees. Previously, companies had some discretion over the appearance and wording of these labels. OSHA formulated these amendments to conform to the United Nation’s Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) and create a standardized approach regarding this issue because companies often operate in various countries with different laws. However, a…

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After-Market Car Parts Prohibition Workshop

New York may have inadvertently banned from advertising, sale or installation certain catalytic converters that are mechanically mandated for certain automobiles. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has established a “workgroup” to address the problem. Subpart 218-7.2 was adopted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and became effective June 1, 2013. That Subpart provides at subsection (c)(1): “It is unlawful for any person to install, sell, offer for sale, or advertise any new after-market catalytic converter in New York State

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Got Refrigeration?

On September 4, 2013, EPA announced a settlement with Safeway, the nation’s second largest grocery store chain, concerning Clean Air Act violations at 659 of its 1,412 stores. Specifically, it seems that ozone-depleting chemicals were leaking from refrigeration units. Safeway agreed to pay a $600,000 fine and to spend over $4 Million in new technology to reduce its emission of ozone depleting gases. Not only is this a “shot across the bow” to alert all grocery store chains to inspect and correct their air…

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California’s Green Chemistry Initiative Regulations Spell Cloudy Future For Manufacturers And Suppliers

Regulations which implement the State of California’s Green Chemistry Initiative are set to take effect on October 1, 2013. However, there remains a great deal of uncertainty as to what chemicals and products will come under the heightened scrutiny of the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). As a result, manufacturers and supply-chain companies face a cloudy future. The Green Chemistry Initiative establishes a process for manufacturers and other companies to review whether they can make their products using safer alternatives to ingredients or components…

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New York Privacy Lawsuit against Medical Facility Involving Nurse’s Text Messages About a Patient’s STD Reinforces Need for Clear Policies on Patient Confidentiality and Texting in the Workplace

There is an interesting case that has been referred by the Second Circuit to the New York Court of Appeals for an advisory opinion involving a nurse who divulged confidential protected health information regarding a patient’s sexually transmitted disease gratuitously to other individuals (Doe v. Guthrie Clinic Ltd., Case Number 12-1045 (2d Cir)).  The interesting wrinkle was the nurse who divulged the information was the sister-in-law of the patient’s girlfriend.  The patient sought treatment at a Corning, New York facility operated by Guthrie Health. …

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Big Rules for Tiny Tech: Examining the Efforts to Regulate Nanotechnology

(This post is co-authored by Troy S. Flascher and Thomas F. Segalla.) Over the past few years, the push to define and regulate nanoscale materials and technology has been gaining momentum in both the United States and the European Union. In “Taming Nanotechnology’s Potential Risks” (an article we co-authored, published in October by Industry Week and adapted from our more comprehensive piece on the topic), potential nano-tort defendants are advised to stay abreast of both proposed or adopted regulations and statutes that are, or…

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“Big Food” Beware – Suits Allege Violations of Federal Regulations in Labeling Products and Ingredients

A wave of recent suits, primarily brought in California, has taken aim at a number of giants in the food industry over wrongly labeling products and ingredients.  Though in the past plaintiff’s lawyers have filed suit against products labeled “healthy” and “natural,” these new suits are alleging specific violations of rules and regulations regarding ingredients and labels. Twenty-five lawsuits have been filed against “Big Food”, including ConAgra Foods, Pepsico, Heinz, General Mills and Chobani.  The action against Chobani, the Greek yogurt…

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