April 2024Newsletter

Legal Bites

"Just a Taste" of Michael Best's Quarterly Serving of Agribusiness, Food & Beverage News

Michael Best’s Agribusiness, Food & Beverage practice represents more than 130 clients in every part of the industry. We serve clients at every link in the food production and distribution chain: growers, processors, makers, distributors, and retailers of food, feed products, and ingredients; as well as trade associations, equipment manufacturers, packagers, restaurant management companies, and other industry service providers. Our work involves M&A, real estate, environmental and other regulatory compliance, food safety, recalls, labeling/claims, intellectual property, labor and employment, litigation, commodity contracting and logistics, and more. Legal Bites is a quarterly newsletter designed to keep our clients current on legal happenings affecting the industry.


Insights from Our Attorneys

HPAI Has Dairy on Edge. 
This week, USDA confirmed an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in dairy herds in Texas, Kansas and New Mexico, afflicting primarily older dairy cows causing decreased lactation, low appetite and other symptoms.  The... Read more. 

False advertising lawsuit alleges there are undisclosed pesticides in Cheerios. Further proof of the creativity of the plaintiffs' bar.
I've posted frequently about what seems to be the never-ending litany of false advertising lawsuits against food and beverage manufacturers. One of the latest, and most creative, was recently filed in the Southern District of New York alleging... Read more.

France bans the use of "meaty" terms in plant-based products. Will other countries follow suit?
While the United States and many other countries wrestle with how plant-based products designed to substitute as meats should be labeled or otherwise described, France has enacted a decree that says exactly what words cannot be used – and it is a... Read more.

Clean up your website! What you say on it matters to the FDA and other government agencies.
I often get hired to help our clients decide what should and should not be included on their product labels. What facts about the product much be disclosed? What should they warn and/or instruct about? What can they legitimately claim the product... Read more.

Not all "ultra-processed" foods are created equal, according to recent research into their healthiness.
I've posted about the mostly negative treatment so-called “ultra-processed” foods have received in the health-related media. But a recent study conducted by Mark Messina of the Soy Nutrition Institute Global (SNIG) and others, argues that not all... Read more.

While SEC Passes on Scope 3, Agriculture Voluntary Carbon Markets Gain Traction. 
It has been a busy time in the carbon market space for the livestock and agriculture industries. Earlier this month, the SEC finalized its carbon reporting rule for registrants, but dialed back from requiring companies report on supply-chain, or... Read more. 

Largest study on ultra-processed foods is "highly suggestive" and "suggestive" of multiple adverse health outcomes.
I've posted a lot about ultra-processed foods (UPF) because there is a plethora of articles in the popular literature about the ostensible health risks of UPF consumption. The most recent, with close to 10 million largely adult participants which... Read more.

Microplastics and nanoplastics: what are they and what are their risks?
New research in the journal Frontiers suggests that broken down plastics can be carriers of a range of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC) that can harm human health. Microplastics form when plastics break down into smaller bits. Nanoplastics are... Read more.

Nutrition labels on wine appears to be inevitable. Is that a good or a bad thing?
I think it is only a matter of time before American consumers see nutrition labels on wine. The European Union recently mandated it, often using QR codes. Most industry experts believe mandates in the United States are not far behind. The Treasury... Read more.

FDA says PFAS is no longer used in food packaging. What's next?
It seems like I can't open a legal publication in the food and beverage or product liability space, and not see something about PFAS. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as PFAS, have historically been used in a wide range of... Read more.

ESG (environmental, social, and governance) lawsuits predicted to increase in 2024.
I've posted about “greenwashing” litigation in the past and how these cases began to proliferate in 2023. Experts are now predicting that trend will continue into 2024, as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) prepares to update its “Green Guides” to... Read more.

New Illinois and New York laws would ban 5 food additives, further fracturing uniform U.S. food policy.
In a number of my posts, I have bemoaned the regulatory compliance difficulties encountered by food and beverage companies doing business in California. But California is not alone. Proposed legislation in The Land of Lincoln and The Empire State... Read more.

Much to my surprise, sugar taxes appear to be working to reduce consumption.
I have admittedly been a long-time skeptic that taxes on the foods and beverages some consider unhealthy would be effective. But in May of 2023, I posted about data from Oakland, California suggesting that its tax on sugar sweetened beverages may... Read more.

"Ag-gag" laws are alive and well (at least for now) in Iowa.
If you're a food and beverage lawyer-geek like me, you find “ag-gag” laws fascinating. That's because their legitimacy involves resolution of the conflict between some of the most important legal principles to our democracy – the First Amendment... Read more.

Keep an eye on Wisconsin's newly proposed raw milk legislation.
“America’s Dairyland” has maintained one of the most restrictive raw milk regulations in the U.S. But State Rep. Elijah Behnke R-89th District, last month pre-filed Senate Bill (SB) 781 to reform the regulation of raw milk in... Read more.

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