Washington and Oregon to Vote on Soda and Food Tax Bans

Washington State Initiative 1634 would ban local taxes on groceries. The initiative defines groceries as “any raw or processed food or beverage, or any ingredient thereof, intended for human consumption except alcoholic beverages, marijuana products, and tobacco. The ban would not apply to existing taxes, including Seattle’s sweetened-beverage tax (see our January 2, 2018, blog … Continue Reading

GFI and Others Sue Missouri over Plant-Based and Clean Meat Labeling Law

The Good Food Institute (GFI), the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, and Turtle Island Foods (Tofurky brand) sued the state of Missouri over a new law, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 265.494(7), which prohibits labeling a product that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry as meat. The … Continue Reading

Will Pennsylvania Join Other States in Banning Local Soda Taxes?

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has upheld a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages approved by the Philadelphia city council in 2016 (see previous blogs here, here and here for background information on that tax and court challenges to the tax). Opponents of the tax had argued that the tax violated Pennsylvania’s Sterling Act of 1932, which prohibits … Continue Reading

Bipartisan Bill Would Protect State Marijuana Laws

Several U.S. Senators introduced a bipartisan bill titled, Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act (STATES Act), on June 7. The bill would allow states, U.S. territories, and federally recognized tribes to choose how to regulate the use of marijuana within the borders of their state without federal interference. However, the bill would leave certain … Continue Reading

Missouri Considers Plant-Based Meat Labeling Bill

The Missouri House approved a bill that would ban companies from labeling lab-grown meat products or meat substitutes as meat (St. Louis Post Dispatch). The labeling proposal is included in House Committee Bill 16, which passed the House by a vote of 107 to 38 on April 26, 2018. Now before the state Senate, the … Continue Reading

Washington Senate Passes Bill to Phase Out Salmon Farming

Current efforts to ban salmon farming in Washington State began shortly after the August 2017 failure of a net pen structure owned by Canadian-based Cooke Aquaculture that resulted in the escape of more than 240,000 invasive Atlantic salmon into Puget Sound. On March 2, 2018, the Washington State Senate passed HR 2957 by a vote … Continue Reading

Salmon Farming Update: Washington State Terminates Another Lease

As previously reported on this blog, Cooke Aquaculture (Cooke) sued the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) last month for terminating its Port Angeles net pen lease for salmon farming. On February 4, Washington State DNR announced that it was also terminating the lease for the company’s Cypress Island Atlantic salmon net pens. In … Continue Reading

Washington State Senator Considering Ban on Atlantic Salmon Farming

Washington State Senator Kevin Ranker (D-Orcas Island) plans on proposing legislation in the upcoming session to ban Atlantic salmon net-pen farming, reports the Seattle Times. The legislation is in response to an August 2017 incident where 100,000 fish escaped into Puget Sound from a net-pen farm. The Washington Department of Ecology defines Net-Pen finfish aquaculture … Continue Reading

School Milk Nutrition Act of 2017 Proposed to Reverse Declining Milk Consumption

As previously reported on this blog, USDA submitted an interim final rule on July 6, 2017, that would—among other things—expand the types of flavored milk allowed in the school lunch program. That announcement followed a May 2, 2017 proclamation by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue explaining that USDA would provide greater flexibility in nutrition requirements … Continue Reading

Bipartisan Senate Bill to Increase Ag Export Funding Praised by Farmers

Legislation that would increase funding for two U.S. Department of Agriculture export promotion programs was introduced in the U.S. Senate last week. Sponsored by Senators Angus King (I-ME), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), and Susan Collins (R-ME), the “Cultivating Revitalization by Expanding American Trade and Exports (CREAATE) Act” (S. 1839) would increase funding for … Continue Reading

Court Blocks San Francisco Law Requiring Warnings on Soft Drink Ads

As previously covered on this blog, the City of San Francisco passed legislation in June 2015 that required health warnings to be placed on advertising for sugar-sweetened beverages (i.e., nonalcoholic beverages with caloric sweeteners that contain more than 25 calories per 12 oz.).  Specifically, the warning would have read:  “WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes … Continue Reading

GE Salmon Labeling Mandate Included in Senate Appropriations Bill

As previously reported on this blog, Senate Bill 764, which requires the labeling of genetically modified (GM) foods and food ingredients, was signed into law on July 29, 2016. The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop regulations and standards to create mandatory disclosure requirements for bio-engineered foods by July 2018. Under the … Continue Reading

Bill Requiring Soda Warning Labels Introduced in California Senate Again

California State Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel) introduced a bill that would require health warning labels on sugary beverages sold in California. More specifically, SB 300, referred to as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Health Warning Act, would require the following warning on certain sealed beverage containers: STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes … Continue Reading

Menu Labeling Legislation Would Ease Some of FDA’s Upcoming Requirements

Three months before new FDA regulations take effect that require restaurants and similar retail food establishments (in chains of 20 or more locations doing business under the same name and selling substantially similar menu items) to provide calorie and other nutrition information for standard menu items, Congress is again considering legislation to modify the requirements. … Continue Reading

Soda Speech Suit

Washington Legal Foundation files brief in support of First Amendment challenge to San Francisco soda warning. As previously covered on this blog, the City of San Francisco passed legislation that requires health warnings to be placed on advertising for sugar-sweetened beverages.  Industry and advertising trade associations filed a lawsuit challenging the legislation on First Amendment grounds.  … Continue Reading

Regulatory Round-up

We return from our hiatus with a wrap-up of recent items of interest: President Obama Signs federal GM labeling bill into law. As anticipated, on July 29, President Obama signed S. 764 into law, establishing a federal framework for the labeling of genetically modified (GM) foods and food ingredients.  With this action, Vermont’s GM labeling … Continue Reading

GM Labeling: Finish Line in Sight

Federal GM labeling compromise awaits presidential signature. In an update on a topic frequently covered in recent weeks on this blog, the Senate compromise bill to establish a federal standard for the labeling of genetically modified (GM) foods gained bipartisan support in the House of Representatives and passed with a 306-117 vote on July 14, … Continue Reading

GM Labeling: Hold Hurdled

GMO labeling bill moves forward in the Senate. As previously covered on this blog, on June 23, the Senate Agriculture Committee announced a bipartisan deal that would create a national labeling standard for genetically modified (GM) foods while pre-empting conflicting state laws, such as Vermont’s requirements (which took effect on July 1).  Sen. Bernie Sanders … Continue Reading

GM Labeling: Sanders’ Stance

Sen. Bernie Sanders stands in opposition to GM labeling deal. As reported earlier this week, the Senate Agriculture Committee announced a bipartisan deal that would create a national labeling standard for genetically modified (GM) foods while pre-empting conflicting state laws, such as Vermont’s requirements (which take effect this Friday). In an unsurprising move, Sen. Bernie … Continue Reading

GM Labeling: The Deal

Senate reaches bipartisan deal on federal GM labeling standard. As the food industry is well aware, many eyes have been on Congress to determine whether federal legislation addressing the labeling of genetically modified (GM) foods could be enacted before the July 1 effective date of Vermont’s GM labeling requirements. On June 23, the Senate Agriculture … Continue Reading

Fish Flakes

Congress considers ending USDA catfish inspection program. As previously covered on this blog, in the 2008 Farm Bill, Congress required FDA to divest its authority over the inspection of Siluriformes fish (including catfish) to USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS).  FSIS issued a final rule to establish the inspection program in November 2015 and FDA announced … Continue Reading

GM Labeling: Congressional Confidence

Sen. Roberts expresses confidence that Congress will pass GM labeling bill in June. As previously covered on this blog, Congress has repeatedly failed to agree on legislation to establish a federal standard for the labeling of genetically modified (GM) foods.  In March, many thought a “hybrid” bill modeled on Senator Roberts’ (R-Kansas) voluntary GM labeling bill represented … Continue Reading

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