California egg law - carton of eggsOn October 19, 2019, and December 4, 2019, we blogged about the North American Meat Institute’s challenge to California Proposition 12.  Proposition 12 prohibits the sale in California of pork or veal derived from animals confined in conditions that do not comply with the strict California standards.  It builds on the previous ban on the sale of eggs discussed in Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d’Oies du Quebec v. Harris, 870 F.3d 1140 (9th Cir. 2017) (the foie gras case), about which we blogged on May 29, 2018.

As we reported on December 4, 2019, the District Court denied NAMI’s motion for preliminary injunction.  On October 15, 2020, the Ninth Circuit affirmed in a short, per curiam opinion.

The Ninth Circuit panel held that NAMI had presented no evidence that the purpose of the statute was to discriminate against out-of-state businesses.  It also held that Proposition 12 does not have a discriminatory effect because “it treats in-state meat producers the same as out-of-state producers.”
Continue Reading Update on California Proposition 12

We have blogged on several occasions, most recently on June 4, 2020, about state laws attempting to shield traditional producers of meat and poultry from competition from producers of plant- and cell-based meat. These statutes typically attempt to prohibit such producers from calling their product “meat.” Most such statutes have been stricken, in whole or in part, on First Amendment grounds.

The latest state to enter the fray is Oklahoma. Unlike other states, Oklahoma did not prohibit the marketing of meatless meat as meat. Instead, it required disclosure of the product’s vegan status in “type that is uniform in size and prominence to the name of the product.” Violators could be liable for $10,000 fines and even jail time.

The practical effect of this statute, however, is to prohibit sales of meatless meat in Oklahoma. No other state imposes such a requirement, so the producer has a choice: redesign the entire label for Oklahoma sales or stay out of the state. In addition, as a matter of marketing strategy, producers want the largest type for the name of the product – not a disclosure.

Upton’s Naturals and the Plant-Based Foods Association have sued to enjoin the statute. They argue that the statute compels speech. Under the First Amendment, states have the right to compel such speech only when necessary to prevent deception. Plaintiffs argue there is nothing misleading about their current labels, given that they clearly disclose the origin of the product. At the very least, therefore, the statute must survive intermediate scrutiny to satisfy the First Amendment.
Continue Reading Meatless Meat Update

On October 7, 2020, we blogged about the request by the Harvard Law Animal Law and Policy Clinic that the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) refrain from proposing regulations governing so-called meatless meat products: foods that resemble traditional meats and poultry but derived from cell culture or plants.

On October 19, 2020, two industry groups asked the USDA to do the opposite. The Alliance for Meat, Poultry and Seafood Innovation (representing cell-based producers) and the North American Meat Institute (representing traditional producers) requested the USDA to solicit the data needed to establish mandatory labeling requirements for meatless meat.

Their letter noted that the launch date for marketing cell-based meat is fast approaching. The producers of such products want clear and truthful labeling that enables consumers to distinguish them from conventional meat and disparages neither kind of product.
Continue Reading Meatless Meat Regulatory Update

We have blogged, most recently on July 30, 2019, about Minnesota’s farm winery statute. The statute allows local wineries to sell direct to retailers and the public, unlike the traditional three-stage manufacturer-distributor-retailer system. In order to qualify for the farm winery license, the winery must obtain 50% or more of its ingredients from Minnesota

We have blogged on several occasions, most recently on June 19, 2020, about so-called “meatless meat” statutes – statutes intended to regulate the labeling of products resembling traditional meat or poultry but produced from plant- or lab-based materials. The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the Department of Agriculture has concurrent jurisdiction over such matters along with the FDA, and the agencies are contemplating issuing regulations.

The Harvard Law Animal Law and Policy Clinic (ALPC) recently asked FSIS to postpone any regulations in the area of lab-based meat until it has a better understanding of the safety of such products and has had an opportunity to review proposed labels.

The idea of lab-based meat was first bruited in 1930. The first patent for such a product was awarded in 1999 and numerous start-ups claim that they are ready, or almost ready, to sell lab-based meat commercially.
Continue Reading Update On Meatless Meat

Have you ever heard the term, “smells like money”?  Under the ever-changing economic landscape affecting farmers throughout the country, many are looking to diversify their agricultural operation from an exclusive row-crop operation to include livestock production. 
Continue Reading From Corn to Cattle: Under Right-to-Farm Act Laws, Farmers May Have Flexibility to Diversify and Expand Their Farming Operation

Husch Blackwell will host BioBreak on the Plaza: The Future of Biopressing Technology in our Kansas City office on December 11, from 3:45-6:30 p.m. The panel will discuss what makes biologics unique from other pharmaceuticals and treatments, what the bioprocessing industry looks like in our region, and the types of innovation happening within these fields.

Continue Reading The Future of Bioprocessing Technology

We have blogged several times, most recently on October 15, 2019, about the so-called meatless meat statutes. These statutes attempt to protect producers of meat from competition from plant- or lab-based foods that are engineered to look and taste like real meat. The stated rationale is to prevent purveyors of meatless meat from misleading consumers. As is the case with many consumer protection statutes, the real objective is to protect competitors.

Continue Reading Meatless Meat Update

Earlier this year, a class action complaint was filed against Coca-Cola and one of its subsidiaries, Fairlife LLC, alleging false advertising for selling “humanely sourced” milk. Why false? According to the complaint, which was filed in June, the dairy cows milked at Fairlife’s flagship farm were subjected to allegedly “horrendous animal abuse,” despite Fairlife’s claims in its advertising and on its labels that its animals lived in “extraordinary care and comfort.”

Continue Reading Spoiled Milk: A Cautionary Tale of Advertising and Labeling for the Animal Products Industry

We last blogged about Tofurky’s challenge to Missouri’s meatless meat statute on September 16, 2019.  Settlement negotiations had broken down and the parties asked the District Court to address plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction.  On September 30, 2019, the Court issued an order certifying a defendant class consisting of the prosecuting attorneys in each county in Missouri.  To our considerable surprise however, the Court denied the motion for preliminary injunction.
Continue Reading Meatless Meat Update