Mid-year reports have shown that there has been a resurgence in “all natural” litigation against food product companies in 2017 – an expected 30% increase in filings as compared to 2016. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. These filings waned a bit in 2015 after the FDA indicated that it might be looking to define the term. But since seeking public … Continue Reading
With the recent announcement that Amazon is buying Whole Foods, issues of channel disruption — that is, the ways consumers purchase food — have been on the forefront of people’s minds. On June 1, at DWT’s annual food and beverage executive summit, Farm to Label, we discussed this very issue. We were joined by panelists Madeline Haydon, founder of … Continue Reading
Some conversations are just uncomfortable. And if you are talking about diversity in the workplace in an honest way, it probably should be uncomfortable. It is a topic that is likely going to disrupt the “norm” of your workplace culture in the best ways.
Some panelists embraced the disruptive topic of diversifying the work force at a recent panel discussion… Continue Reading
At Farm to Label, I presented a panel called “ABCs of Distribution to Grocery” with Brittany Sienia, Trade Analyst at Tillamook, Chris Tjersland, Partner Brands Development Manager at New Seasons and Ray VanWetten, Vice President-PNW Sales of Unified Grocers, Inc. We had a lively discussion on all aspects of the brand-distributor-grocery spectrum,… Continue Reading
We were honored to welcome more than 350 executives, investors, and entrepreneurs to our annual Farm to Label (F2L) food and beverage summit, in Portland, Oregon, on June 1st. Now in its fifth year, F2L has grown into a much anticipated annual gathering for idea-sharing, pragmatic business conversations, and networking for guests from throughout the West… Continue Reading
A tweet last week from Project Nosh set my food-labeling-lawyer-head buzzing: “Consumers are looking for snacks that aren’t just empty calories. Brands are providing everything from protein to anti-nausea properties.” An anti-nausea claim on a food label – can they say that?
As consumers more fully embrace the idea of food as medicine, and food … Continue Reading
Now that the FDA has (yet again) decided to delay enforcement of its menu labeling regulations for another year (and possibly to change the regulations entirely), one question seems to be on everyone’s minds: will we need to comply with state and local menu labeling laws? The answer is thorny and may be the subject of future dispute.
According to the FDA, its… Continue Reading
UPDATE (May 3, 2017): The FDA announced on May 1 that enforcement of the menu labeling rule is delayed until May 7, 2018. In addition, FDA is seeking comments “on the implementation of the menu labeling requirements, such as approaches to reduce regulatory burden or increase flexibility related to (a) calorie disclosure signage for self-service foods,… Continue Reading
Everybody wants “clean” labels. But, what does that mean? With no legal definition, “clean” labeling encompasses a wide-range of claims, such as natural, healthy, -free, simple, small-batch, no preservatives, no artificial colors or flavors, made from nature, made from kitchen ingredients, and pasture-raised. Underlying the “clean” … Continue Reading
The Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) recently published draft guidance articulating recommended practices to control Listeria monocytogenes (“L. mono”) in Ready-to-Eat… Continue Reading
Last month, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals revered (in part) a lower court decision finding that Dole’s “all natural” labeling was not deceptive to consumers – reviving a four-year-old litigation, Brazil v. Dole Packaged Foods LLC.
Although the decision was not a total win for consumers (and was not a published decision and therefore not binding… Continue Reading
Chase Purdy at Quartz recently published an article with the following headline: “To lure people put off by the freakiness of lab-made meat, this is what the industry wants to call it.” It got me thinking about the importance of names and narratives in the food world, and how this is not the first time we’ve wrestled with the naming and framing of a food item.… Continue Reading
Remember last month when we said to DOCUMENT EVERYTHING under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)? Well, here’s some more context for that recommendation.
For one, FSMA adds a substantial amount of documentation and record-keeping requirements for food companies that are covered by any one or more of FSMA’s new regulations. For example:
- Food facilities—those
The term “healthy” as commonly used is quite subjective—meaning different things to different types of consumers. Culturally, there are sometimes fast-changing trends about what is healthy—foods rejected by consumers a few years ago are now regaining popularity and vice versa. Nevertheless, the FDA defines “healthy” and regulates how … Continue Reading
We wrote earlier this week about the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and what it means, from a 30,000 foot perspective, for food companies. Today we are going to dig in a little deeper to one issue that we’ve seen clients wrestle with recently.
One core FSMA requirement is a new process that requires identification and prevention of all reasonably foreseeable… Continue Reading
Today, Sept. 19, 2016, is a big day for the food industry. It is the first compliance deadline for regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) – the law we’ve been talking about since 2011, the law touted as the most sweeping reform of food safety laws in more than 70 years.
So, what’s all the big fuss about?
Yes, “food facilities” (companies… Continue Reading
While you were (hopefully) lounging at the beach or hiking mountains, the FDA was hard at work in Washington D.C. churning out final rules and guidance documents that impact food companies in various, and sometimes substantial, ways.
Some of those updates were expected (e.g., Nutrition Facts updates) and some were a surprise (e.g., a finalized GRAS rule, … Continue Reading
There’s a new federal law governing GMOs, and it preempts the poorly conceived, if well-meaning, state laws that have been pushed for the past decade.
While state GMO bills have tended toward inclusion—concerns over Vermont’s GMO labeling law (when not focused on local protectionism) revolved around the ambiguity of the definition of “genetic … Continue Reading
Transparency is a hot topic in the food world these days. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently finalized an update to the nutrition facts panel for packaged foods. The U.S. Senate last week advanced a bill addressing the labeling of genetically engineered foods, which the U.S. House is expected to vote on today. A federal court in California … Continue Reading
Add this to FDA’s growing list of things to do: improve the food recall initiation process.
According to a memorandum published on June 8, 2016, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services (which houses FDA) has preliminarily concluded that FDA does not have proper policies and procedures in place to effectively and… Continue Reading
If you are one of those consumers that studies food labels (I’m right there with you) or, more importantly, a packaged food supplier, be prepared: your food labels will be getting a makeover.
Some folks are feeling a little salty about last week’s turn of events in the New York City sodium labeling ordinance saga.
On May 26, 2016, a New York state appellate court lifted a temporary stay on New York City’s sodium labeling ordinance. The ordinance, passed unanimously in September 2015 by New York City’s Board of Health, requires restaurants … Continue Reading
Last year the State of California added Bisphenol A (BPA) to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive harm under Prop 65 [the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986], a law which requires warnings for such exposures in California. The warning requirement kicked in a year later – May 11, 2016.
BPA is commonly used in plastics,… Continue Reading
A day before new sodium labeling regulations were set to take effect in New York City, a New York state appeals court granted a temporary stay, pausing the implementation and enforcement of the new requirements.
Under the regulations, New York City restaurants with fifteen or more locations nationwide would have been required to post a salt-shaker symbol … Continue Reading
On February 22, a packed room of food technologists and cereal chemists in Minneapolis heard from a panel of speakers about the hot debate surrounding GMO-labeling, an issue that is unlikely to be resolved any time soon.
What is the most vexing legal issue today facing companies that rely on independent contractors to perform essential services? Treating the engaging firm as the “joint employer” of their contractors’ workers. Joint employment legal risks extend to all companies that license their brand to independent licensees, distributors, dealers, or franchisees… Continue Reading
Crises averted in international trade usually make good economics, but unsatisfying politics. They’re a half-loaf of success in which positioning, inertia and self-interest usually win. So it is with the recent repeal of meat country of origin labeling (“COOL”) laws.
The basic story is that the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills included COOL provisions… Continue Reading
Although many of us will share a bountiful table of food with loved ones this holiday season, there are many for whom putting food on the table is a struggle (and not just during the holidays). At the same time, 40% of food in the United States goes to waste. How do we, as a society, address these sister issues of hunger and waste?
There are lots of reasons for this waste,… Continue Reading
If you were hoping to pick up a cold one at an Indianapolis convenience store on your way to a holiday party this weekend, think again.
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a decision in Indiana Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association, v. Cook, holding against grocery and c-store operators looking to sell cold beer in Indiana.… Continue Reading
Oregon decided to participate in New Year’s resolutions this year. As the season becomes colder, Oregon employers will be required to follow a host of new laws passed by the state legislature that will significantly affect the workplace. These laws, which go into effect Jan. 1, 2016, pertain to all restaurants, hotels, and food and beverage companies doing… Continue Reading
If a food is labeled organic, but is not actually organic, can a consumer bring state law claims under consumer protection statutes? In California, it appears that the answer is yes.
Think of that busy mom in a grocery store, standing in front of a wall of granola bars. How does she choose which one to buy? Does she pick the all-natural chocolate peanut butter kind or the not-all-natural chocolate peanut butter kind? Does she believe that products labeled “natural” actually are natural? What does “natural” even mean? What do YOU … Continue Reading
“Natural”, “organic”, obesity, water, subsidies, pesticides, “local”, “healthy”, genetically-modified food, diabetes, menu labeling, workers’ rights, food labeling, food safety, international trade – the list of hot-button issues in food and agriculture could go on for pages. As the national conversation about food and agriculture… Continue Reading
The last few years have seen tremendous changes in the food industry, including passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act; continued criticism of the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) process; increased enforcement of and litigation about food claims and classifications and their intersection with marketing and advertising efforts; and increased… Continue Reading