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Summer vacay? Not for FDA.

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

BPA in Plastics Requires a Prop 65 Warning — For Food Containers, California Imposes a Generic Point-of-Sale Warning

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

(Un)COOL: How Congress (Unsuccessfully) Made Sausage Labeling Laws

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

Putting Food Donation Liability Protection Laws to Use

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

New Year, 7 New Laws in Oregon: What You Need to Know Going Into 2016

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

Naturally, It’s Only Natural. Or, Is It?

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

Getting to the Roots of It All

“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

Managing FDA and USDA Compliance

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

You May Not Be Entitled To Use Your Own Name

Working with several artisan food and alcohol producers as clients, we frequently notice that using one’s own name (first, last, or both) as a brand name in association with one’s goods is very common in these industries. Recently, a decision was handed down by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) that reminds us that, while using one’s own name… Continue Reading

Four Loko Liability Ruling Notable, but Not Game-Changing

A California court recently held that Four Loko is not protected from liability in a wrongful death lawsuit.  Fiorini v. City Brewing Co., LLC, 2014 WL 5743133 (Cal. Ct. App. Nov. 6, 2014).  In this case, the parents of a 23-year-old college student sued the beverage company after their son drank two cans of Four Loko and then ended up in a confrontation … Continue Reading

Berkeley’s Measure D: What Distributors, Restaurants and Retailers need to know about the Berkeley “Sugar Tax”

According to its backers, the Berkeley “Sugar Tax” is the future of sugar in America.  Berkeley’s Measure “D,” which garnered an overwhelming 75% “yes” vote, imposes a general excise tax of $0.01 per ounce on the distribution of sugar-sweetened beverages and the sweeteners used to sweeten such drinks:  this amounts to a 12 cent tax on… Continue Reading

California Appellate Court Holds That Federal Law Preempts Unfair Competition Law Claims Tied to Organic Label

By Chip English and Allison A. Davis

In a case of first impression in the state courts, a California appellate court delivered an early Christmas present Dec. 23 to beleaguered food and beverage companies facing an avalanche of lawsuits under California’s Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”). In Quesada v. Herb Thyme Farms, Inc., Case No. B239602… Continue Reading

Food and the City: Making Density Palatable

Moderated by DWT partner Jim Greenfield, the third installment of DWT and Forterra’s Creating a Great Global Region series was an interesting and engaging evening focused on how social equity, community building and conversation of farmland intersect around food. The event consisted of a panel discussion of prominent members of the local agriculture… Continue Reading

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