Features

Agriculture & Food

The USDA National Organic Program and the Effort to Maintain Organic Food Integrity

The organic food industry is the fastest-growing sector in American retail grocery sales, reaching $47 billion, or 6.4%, of total grocery sales of $822 billion in 2017. It is unlikely that any major law firm in America does not have clients that produce, transport, distribute, or sell organic foods. Advising food industry clients who inquire about the costs and benefits of the complex, critical, and often costly transitioning to organic certification requires an understanding of the basic regulatory issues presented in this article, including the USDA National Organic Program (NOP), international trade agreements, and standards for organic integrity.

Biotechnology

A Burger by Any Other Name: Regulatory Challenges and Opportunities for Cell-cultured Meat

“Cell-cultured” meat—otherwise known as “synthetic” or “lab-grown” meat—is now under development by an expanding cadre of biotechnology companies around the globe seeking a new and sustainable source of meat that promises consumers the full taste, appearance, and texture of animal products while reducing reliance on, and in some cases replacing, modern animal agriculture and industrial production practices. Among the key controversies: Can a product be considered “meat” if it is grown in a laboratory instead of derived from a slaughtered animal? A federal court is now considering that very question, as U.S. government agencies are being challenged to apply their existing statutory authorities to ensure the safety of these novel food products.

Agriculture & Food

Can Nondairy Beverages Be Called Milk?

Consumers today can choose from among a broad variety of non-dairy beverage products that are marketed as “milk,” including “soy milk” and “almond milk.” This article discusses the issues related to using words originally associated with dairy products to identify plant-based products; the position taken or not taken by the FDA; the legislation that has been proposed to address the issue; and judicial decisions rendered on plant-based product manufacturers for using the word “milk” on their plant-based beverages’ labels. In addition, the authors compare how the issue has been addressed in Europe.

Agriculture & Food

The Regulation of Food Packaging

While there is general familiarity with food laws in the legal community, the laws and regulations governing food packaging are often less understood, even though they may have a significant impact on a food company’s success in marketing new products. This article explains how food packaging is regulated in the United States and how the U.S. regulatory scheme compares to other jurisdictions throughout the world; in addition, the authors provide insight to how many of the current food packaging regulations came about, including some recent updates to food packaging laws and regulations.

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