Activists successfully defend California law imposed on sale of out-of-state farm products

Sometimes lawyers talk about being able to use a knothole in the law that allows them to pull through much more of their own arguments than one might ordinarily expect. California has managed to rely on just such a “knothole,” with requirements for housing chickens and now pigs that must be adhered to for access to the California market for animals not raised in the state.

That’s because the North American Meat Institute (NAMI)  lost its challenge to the constitutionally of California’s Proposition 12. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a California district court ruling on the matter. Only a legal challenge in another California court by the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation stand in the way of the animal housing restrictions.

“The district court did not abuse its discretion in holding that NAMI was unlikely to succeed on the merits of its dormant … Read more

Red Chains, Blue Chains

Politicians don’t just work for the American people. Corporations spend millions of dollars on political action committees, lobbyists, and campaigns each election cycle to ensure legislators will pass laws that are in their favor and derail ones that aren’t. That means when Americans vote this November, many will be voting for candidates who have taken thousands of dollars from the restaurant and bar sector over the past year. Campaign finance data reveals the political leanings of America’s top fast-food corporations and their employees.

Federal law prohibits corporations and labor unions from donating directly to political candidates, so large companies typically don’t openly support individuals who are running for office. Their CEOs and employees can independently donate to candidates, however — or to company-sponsored political action committees (PACs). Corporate PACs pool money from employees and donate it to candidates (up to $5,000 per candidate, per election) or political parties (up to … Read more

Conventional and cultured industries express goals for federal labels

The industry of animal cell-based/cultured technology has not yet brought any products to market, but the entry is fast approaching and applicable federal labels are soon going to be required.

And, the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) and the Alliance for Meat, Poultry and Seafood Innovation (AMPS Innovation) have  linked up to represent both conventional and cultured meat, poultry and seafood companies to ask the federal government for “a labeling framework that fosters transparency, consumer confidence, and a level playing field while also aligning with longstanding law and policy.”

“As demand for meat, poultry, and seafood increases, the need for nutritious protein, increased productivity, and a more diversified supply chain will soon be greater than ever before,” the two groups said in a letter to USDA’s Under Secretary for Food Safety, Mindy Brashears. 

“Meeting these needs will require innovative solutions and a clear, science-based regulatory system that supports new approaches … Read more

‘Great British Bake Off’ Doesn’t Feel the Same Anymore

Channel 4

Typically a soothing balm, “Bake Off” has oddly made 2020 more chaotic

There are things you expect to experience when tuning into a new season of The Great British Bake Off (or as it’s known stateside on Netflix, the Great British Baking Show): Judge Prue Leith will wear statement glasses and necklaces, host Noel Fielding will wear statement everything, bakers and viewers alike will overestimate the power of a Paul Hollywood handshake, and there will be lingering shots of babbling brooks and greenery. More than anything, though, you expect that signature Bake Off calm, one found only while watching a group of Brits treating each other nicely as they struggle to make kouign-amann or intricate gingerbread houses inspired by their childhoods.

But why would 2020, year of pestilence, punishment, and the presidential election, allow us this one simple pleasure? Why, in a time of such … Read more

State disease detectives share details of investigation practices

ROSEMONT, IL — Three panelists from two different states discussed the investigations of romaine lettuce outbreaks and generated wide-ranging questions during a session at Food Safety Summit 2020.

For the first time, a summit is a virtual event, out of precautions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event, which began Monday, runs through tomorrow and features, among other things, a forum for vendors similar to the traditional trade show plus dozens of live educational sessions.

During a session, Tuesday afternoon three panelists and a moderator talked about specific timelines and investigation methods related to two E. coli outbreaks traced to romaine lettuce this past year. The session, “Foodborne Outbreaks in the News,” was moderated by Laura Gieraltowski, the Lead of the Foodborne Outbreak Response Team in the Outbreak Response and Prevention Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She led the conversation with:

  • Polakshee Gogoi of the Wisconsin
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