April 28, 2015
TO: JPA Members
FROM: Patricia Faison
RE: JPA Regulatory Update
(1) Vermont GE Food Labeling – Labeling Regulation Published and Court Dismisses Motion for Preliminary Injunction
(2) European Union Approves Ten GM Crops
(3) Truckers Strike in California
Vermont GE Food Labeling - Labeling Regulation Published and Court Dismisses Motion for Preliminary Injunction
JPA has been providing updates regarding Vermont’s law to mandate the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods, which becomes effective on July 1, 2016. Recently, the regulations detailing the labeling requirements have been published and are available here. Attached is a memorandum, prepared by JPA’s legal counsel, Hogan Lovells, summarizing the labeling provisions.
Last year, JPA members were notified that the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Snack Food Association, International Dairy Foods Association and the National Association of Manufacturers filed a lawsuit in federal court to prohibit Vermont from implementing the GE food labeling law. Members were also notified that these associations requested a preliminary injunction to prevent Vermont from implementing the law until the lawsuit had been settled. In January 2015, JPA also advised that Judge Christina Reiss of the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont heard arguments from the state and attorneys on behalf of the GMA group but a ruling had not been issued at the time.
Today, Foodnavigator-usa.com published an article, available here, noting Judge Reiss has ruled in the case and dismissed GMA’s motion for a preliminary injunction, as the plaintiffs did not prove that failing to grant the preliminary injunction would cause irreparable harm. She also dismissed claims by the GMA group that the law (Act 120) was preempted by federal law and that it violated the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. According to the article, Judge Reiss noted the GMA group “made a plausible claim that the law’s restrictions on what could be called ‘natural’ were invalid under the 1st Amendment.” A copy of the ruling is available here.
An article published by the Associated Press, available here, states the “judge partially granted and partially denied the state's motion to dismiss the industry lawsuit, meaning the case is likely to go to trial.”
GMA issued a press release, available here, expressing, in part, disappointment with the court’s decision to deny the motion for preliminary injunction. GMA stated the decision is being reviewed and the association is considering legal options.
Hogan Lovells is developing a memorandum regarding the recent court decision, which will be shared with members, once received.
European Union Approves Ten GM Crops
According to an article posted on YahooNews.com, available here, the European Union (EU) has approved the import of 10 new genetically modified (GM) crops, including varieties of maize, soybeans, cotton and oilseed rape for use as either human or animal feed for 10 years. The article notes, the crops, produced by Monsanto, BASF and Bayer CropScience, will primarily be used as feed. These crops will be added to the current list of 58 authorized GM crops in the EU. The EU also extended the use of seven other crops (maize, oilseed rape and cotton) for another 10 years. According to the article, the approvals are the first since November 2013 and only apply to imports, not cultivation.
The European Commission recently proposed a law allowing EU member states to prohibit or restrict the import of GM crops, even if such crops have been approved by the EU. According to YahooNews, the U.S. has stated that the proposal amounts to trade restrictions and is a hindrance to discussions of a planned free trade deal between the two countries. The proposal must be voted on by the European Parliament before becoming law.
Truckers Strike in California
According to an article recently published online by Reuters, available here, tractor-trailer drivers hauling freight from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach [California] went on strike Monday (April 27, 2015) against four trucking companies – Pacific 9 Transportation, Intermodal Bridge Transport, Pacer Cartage and Harbor Rail Transport. The article notes the truckers plan to expand their picket lines to marine terminals, rail yards and other locations where the firms’ trucks are dispatched. The truckers have accused the trucking companies of wage theft by illegally misclassifying them as independent contractors and deducting truck-leasing charges from their paychecks along with other expenses. The article also notes the twin ports handle 43 percent of the containerized goods entering the U.S., and the outcome of the dispute has implications for hundreds of companies and thousands of truckers in Southern California serving the two ports.
Please contact me with questions or comments.
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