On June 7, 2018, we blogged about the Fourth Circuit’s opinion reinstating challenges to North Carolina’s so-called “ag-gag” law. Such statutes are common. Their objective is to prevent undercover investigations of agricultural facilities designed to uncover and publicize abuse of animals. These statutes raise serious First Amendment issues and the courts have generally enjoined their enforcement, in whole or in part. Continue Reading North Carolina Ag-Gag Law Update

We have on several occasions, most recently on February 5, 2020, blogged about so-called “ag gag” laws, statutes designed to prevent undercover investigations of agricultural producers. Since that post, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas has dismissed plaintiffs’ challenge to the Arkansas statute for want of standing. Continue Reading Ag-Gag Law Update

On April 14, 2020, we blogged about Tofurky’s appeal concerning Missouri’s meatless meat statute, which purports to prohibit advertising plant- or lab-based products as meat.  The State persuaded the District Court that an advisory memo by the State Department of Agriculture limited the statute to actual misrepresentations and full disclosure of the origin of the product would avoid sanctions. Continue Reading Meatless Meat Update

U.S. trademark owners must file regular maintenance documentation with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) to show that the owner is still using its trademark “in commerce” during the period leading up to the maintenance deadline. The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted businesses and some owners may have had to shut their doors or stop selling products. How do trademark owners maintain their trademark registrations if their businesses have been disrupted?

Continue Reading How to Maintain Trademark Registrations in a Pandemic

Despite the best of intentions to comply with the myriad of laws, orders and recommendations and to “do right” by employees while dealing with the current pandemic and recession, employers remain vulnerable to a whole host of potential COVID-19-related claims. Husch Blackwell’s Labor & Employment team is closely following the ever-changing guidance and return-to-work orders and related issues. Read the team’s  “Top 5” claims and issues being raised now and suggested risk mitigation strategies here.

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) jointly issued an interim guidance to meat and poultry processing companies to facilitate continued operations and mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19.  This interim guidance document marks the first time the federal government has issued comprehensive recommendations to a specific industry on safe operation of a facility during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Continue Reading CDC issues Guidance for Meat and Poultry Processors with OSHA, President Issues Executive Order to Reopen Facilities

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced updated plans for conducting routine inspections of domestic and foreign inspections during the COVID-19 public health emergency.  In March, FDA announced that it was temporarily suspending routine inspections of domestic and foreign facilities, except “mission critical” inspections, as well as conducting remote inspections of food importers subject to the Foreign Supplier Verification Programs.  FDA intends to continue suspending routine inspections for the time being and states that it will resume those inspections when local, national, and international conditions warrant. Continue Reading FDA Provides Updated Plan on Inspections During COVID-19

The  issued Industry Circular 2020–3 on May 8, 2020 which clarifies the applicability of the trade practice provisions of the Federal Alcohol Administration (FAA) Act and TTB regulations during the COVID-19 public health emergency.  The guidance is in effect only from March 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020. Continue Reading TTB Relaxes Certain Trade Practice Rules During COVID-19

On November 5, 2018, we blogged about the circumstances under which checkoff dues violate the First Amendment.  Such dues are common in the ag sector.  Growers of cattle, for example, pay dues of $1 per head to various organizations that use the money for generic advertising.  These dues are by no means entirely popular with growers.  Large producers can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.  Many growers would prefer to tailor their own advertising rather than relying on generic ads.  Constitutional challenges to the checkoff are not uncommon. Continue Reading Update on Checkoff Dues

We have blogged on several occasions about the status of “meatless meat” statutes designed to restrict the sale of plant- or lab-based products that look, taste and cook like meat from animals or poultry.  On February 4, 2020, we discussed the appellant’s brief in Turtle Island’s appeal of the District Court’s denial of its motion to enjoin enforcement of Missouri’s meatless meat statute.  The State has now filed its appellee’s brief. Continue Reading Meatless Meat Update