The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has lowered the age requirement for poultry carcasses to be classified as "roaster chickens." The previous standard required chickens to be eight weeks old and weight 5.5 pounds; according to a petition from the National Chicken Council, this standard prevented companies from labeling and marketing chickens as "roasters" even if they "met all the physical attributes apart from the minimum age requirement." Because of "continuous improvements in breeding and poultry management techniques," producers are able "to raise chickens with the characteristics of roasters in under 8 weeks," AMS has determined. The change took effect on August 6, 2018, the notice's publication date.
Federal prosecutors in Chicago are seeking an injunction against Kingdom Farms Wholesale Meats Inc. for allegedly packaging, selling and transporting products without federal marks of inspection and required labeling. U.S. v. Kingdom Farms Wholesale Meats Inc., No. 18-4155 (N.D. Ill., filed June 14, 2018). The complaint asserts that Kingdom Farms removed products from properly labeled shipping containers and repackaged and sold them without inspection marks and labeling, applied inspection labeling without authorization, and reused properly labeled shipping containers without authorization. The U.S. Attorney's Office alleges the defendants’ actions violated the Poultry Products Inspection Act and the Federal Meat Inspection Act and seeks a permanent injunction restraining them from misbranding or mislabeling products and compelling their compliance with the laws.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will host a public meeting on cultured meat, poultry and seafood on July 12, 2018. In a press release, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb asserted that the agency governs "both substances used in the manufacture of these products of animal cell culture technology and the products themselves that will be used for food" and grouped cultured meats with other "rapidly evolving areas of technological innovation" such as genetically engineered foods and microbial, algal and fungal cells generated and used as direct food ingredients. "The FDA remains committed to using our expertise in relevant scientific areas to evaluate the safety of emerging food technologies, such as foods generated by animal cell culture technology," according to Gottlieb's statement. "But as we mentioned, in addition to leveraging the existing expertise of our staff, we’re also investing in making sure we are considering all the unique attributes and challenges…
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that April 2018 proposed changes to the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) will be adopted. The amendments update several provisions, including "those concerning NPIP participation, voting requirements, testing procedures, and standards."
U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Angus King (I-Maine) have introduced a bill that "would allow meat and poultry products inspected by state Meat and Poultry Inspection (MPI) programs to be sold across state lines," according to a press release. The senators assert that although the inspection programs of 27 states meet or exceed federal inspection standards and the meat is processed through facilities approved by the Food Safety and Inspection Service, the products are not allowed to be sold across state lines. "Our bipartisan, commonsense bill will create new markets for producers and give consumers more choices at the grocery store, while continuing to maintain the high quality and safety standards necessary to keep consumers healthy," Rounds was quoted as saying.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed multiple amendments to the National Poultry Improvement Plan, including changes to committee participation and testing procedures for avian influenza, typhoid and other diseases. Public comments will be accepted through May 9, 2018.
Sanderson Farms Inc. lost a motion to dismiss false advertising claims brought by three advocacy organizations when a California federal court ruled that the claims are not preempted by either the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) or the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA). Organic Consumers Ass’n v. Sanderson Farms Inc., No. 17-3592 (N.D. Cal., entered February 9, 2018). The groups alleged that Sanderson’s marketing materials—which asserted that the poultry was “100% Natural” with “no hidden ingredients” and that “100% natural means there’s only chicken in our chicken”—were misleading because of U.S. Department of Agriculture testing reportedly showing the presence of antibiotics, ketamine, pesticides and “other unnatural substance residues.” The court found that consumer-protection laws “are within the historic police powers resting with the states and are therefore subject to the presumption against preemption ... Consequently, they cannot be superseded by federal law or action unless it is the ‘clear and…
From the rise in food allergies to the changing economics of agriculture and animal husbandry, documentary series “Rotten” examines a range of factors that affect the food and beverage industry. Episodes include "Lawyers, Guns & Honey," which explores how foreign honey enters the U.S. market; "Big Bird," which documents the effects of JBS' purchase of Pilgrim's Pride on U.S. poultry farmers; and "Milk Money," which examines the benefits and risks linked to the sale of raw milk. The final episode, "Cod is Dead," details the effects of catch limits on commercial fisheries and reviews the case of Carlos Rafael, the "Codfather." Since the release of "Rotten," the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has reportedly sought to prevent Rafael and his businesses from reentering the fishing industry after he is released from prison.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has delayed the effective date of the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule until May 14, 2018. The rule’s original effective date was set for January 19, 2017. According to the announcement, “significant policy and legal issues addressed within the final rule warranted further review by USDA.” In September 2017, the Organic Trade Association sued USDA for delays in the effective date, including a request for an order to enjoin the agency from further postponing the rule’s implementation.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that it will take no further action to implement the Farmer Fair Practices Rules, which were reportedly created to allow farmers the power to sue corporate entities with whom they had contracted to produce livestock and poultry. In April 2017, USDA announced a delay of the effective date until October 19, 2017, to allow time for further consideration of comments. On October 18, USDA announced that it will not implement the rules because of concerns over potential increases in litigation, vagueness of the draft rules’ language, possible conflicts of law and executive branch directions to use the least burdensome regulations possible. Following USDA's announcement, U.S. Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue stating that they “vehemently disagree with the decision” because their constituents believe that the current practices of multinational agribusiness corporations,…