United States: Food And Beverage News And Trends - 5 Aug 2019

This regular publication by DLA Piper lawyers focuses on helping clients navigate the ever-changing business, legal and regulatory landscape.

  • Lawsuit challenges Arkansas restrictions on labeling of plant-based meat products. In a lawsuit filed July 22, Turtle Island Foods,the company that makes Tofurky, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, the Good Food Institute, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund, is challenging an Arkansas law that took effect on July 24. The law prohibits companies from using terms derived from the word "meat" to label or describe products that are plant-based or are made from anything other than traditional meat. Turtle Island Foods points out in the lawsuit that all of its products are clearly labeled as vegan or as not containing meat from slaughtered animals. The plaintiffs assert that the law infringes on the First Amendment rights of Turtle Island Foods and that it is intended to boost the state's meat industries by censoring truthful speech. Similar lawsuits against state laws of this sort are pending in Missouri and Mississippi. See some of our earlier coverage of this developing story here and here.
  • Gottlieb calls on FDA to act on CBD products. In a July 30 op-ed in the Washington Post titled "The CBD craze is getting out of hand. The FDA needs to act," former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the agency needs to act swiftly to address the booming CBD market, but without compromising its mission of public safety.Products containing the hemp derivative CBD, cannabidiol, are soaring in popularity, he noted, but "many of the compound's expansive benefits are fanciful, and in fact, the sale of much of the product is illegal under current law." There is only one legally available purified form of CBD: the drug Epidiolex, approved in 2018 for treating seizures."The law still prohibits putting the chemical in food or pet food," meaning that, of the vast array of creams, pills, lotions, gummies, snacks, oils, pet treats and other CBD products now easily available online and even in stores, none are legal and many may be unsafe.Meanwhile, "the FDA is being pushed by all sides to act quickly."Gottlieb called for a legal path based on "a clear and efficient regulatory process and sound science" and explored ways for the FDA to fulfill its public-health obligations while meeting the political demand for CBD goods: "It can approve the sale of some CBD products immediately, while effecting a framework for their safe and proper regulation and a pathway for an enforceable market for these goods," he said. "Obligating the industry to do the front end of this scientific work − and sweeping the market of those who won't − could advance a safe path and help establish the stable market for hemp-derived CBD envisioned by lawmakers."
  • Hummus maker issues voluntary recall. Pita Pal Foods, LP, of Houston has issued a voluntary recall of some of its hummus products made between May 30, 2019, and June 25, 2019, due to concerns over the presence of Listeria monocytogenes.Nearly 90 hummus products nationwide are affected by the recall, many of them bearing store brands.The Listeria was identified at the manufacturing facility, not in the finished product, during a routine FDA inspection. Listeria monocytogenesis an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. No illnesses have been reported to date for these products, and the company said it is issuing the recall out of an abundance of caution. The recall was announced July 17.
  • USDA Undersecretary Ibach in the news. Should GMO ingredients be allowed in organic foods? Recent comments by Greg Ibach, undersecretary of the USDA, appear to indicate that the current administration is open to allowing foods containing genetically modified or bioengineered ingredients to be classified as organic.In testimony on July 17 before the House Agriculture Subcommittee, Ibach said, "I think there is the opportunity to open the discussion to consider whether it is appropriate for some of these new technologies that include gene-editing to be eligible to be used to enhance organic production and to have drought and disease-resistant varieties, as well as higher-yield varieties available." At present, organic standards prohibit the use of GMO ingredients, but in June, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that instructed federal agencies to be more lenient on approvals for biotech crops.

    Next, on July 31, a coalition of House and Senate members wrote to Ibach to urge him to limit the influence of the poultry industry and meatpackers in rulemakings under the Packers and Stockyards Act. The coalition called on Ibach to prioritize "the rights of America's small independent cattlemen, hog producers, and contract poultry growers." Among those signing the letter were Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and Senator Jon Tester (D-MT).
  • Massachusetts court upholds ruling against Total Wine's pricing structure. On July 24, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court overturned a lower court ruling and held that the state's Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission was justified in finding that Total Wine was selling various liquors in the state at a price below its invoiced cost. This behavior, according to the state agency, amounted to a violation of a state law that prohibits predatory pricing.The state's highest court ruled that the agency's interpretation of the law was reasonable due to the "plain language" of the law and the commission's "need to effectively and uniformly its own regulations in accordance with its legislative mandate." Total Wine operates six stores in Massachusetts.
  • California changes the legal definition of "beer." The Orange County Register reported July 19 that California, a state often criticized for excessive regulation of business, has gone counter to that trend, acting to assist the state's craft-beer industry by loosening the definition of the term "beer." In California, "beer" can now include products that are made with the use of honey, fruit juice, fruit concentrate, herbs, spices and other food materials, as adjuncts in fermentation. This change will bring the definition in line with federal regulations. " This measure modifies the definition of beer in a way that will allow California breweries to expand their market, satisfying the consumer's demand for more varied and unique styles of beer," said a state assemblyman who wrote the bill.
  • New alcohol-distribution lawsuits spring up after Supreme Court ruling. In the wake of the US Supreme Court's landmark ruling last month on Tennessee's wine-distribution law, at least four new lawsuits have been filed in other states seeking to liberalize state liquor laws. The suits were filed in Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey and Texas, which each allow wine shops within the state, but not out-of-state shops, to ship to consumers within the state. In addition, lawyers have asked a Michigan judge to enforce an order he issued last year that would open up shipping to out-of-state stores. The judge had stayed that ruling earlier to await last month's high court ruling. The majority opinion in Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association v. Thomas invalidates a Tennessee law that required sellers of beer, wine and liquor in that state to have lived there for two years before obtaining a permit to sell alcohol; the Court overturned the law because it discriminates against out-of-staters and thus violates the so-called dormant Commerce Clause of the US Constitution.
  • North Carolina comes closer to reform of alcoholic beverage regulatory regime. On July 16, the North Carolina Senate passed Senate Bill 290, known as the ABC Regulatory Reform Bill. The bill would allow distillers to use distribution rules that would be akin to the rules applicable to brewers and wine makers.It would make it easier for distillers to get their beverages into bars and restaurants by removing some of the strict ABC system regulations in the state. Distillers would also be able to serve cocktails to their customers and sell larger numbers of their products on-site. A similar bill is pending in the state's General Assembly.
  • Meatballs recall due to contamination with...cranberries. More than 53,000 pounds of frozen ready-to-eat meatballs manufactured by Home Market Foods, Inc. of Norwich, Massachusetts, have been recalled due to mislabeling.The company, which owns a number of brands, erroneously packaged frozen cranberry-stuffed meatballs in bags labeled Cooked Perfect Brand Homestyle Meatballs All Natural." The recall arose over fears that purchasers with a cranberry allergy could inadvertently consume the product. This is a Class I recall, says the USDA, because the product poses a high health risk.The meatballs were shipped to outlets in 10 US states on the East Coast.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions