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YOUR SOURCE ON FOOD LITIGATION AND REGULATION
The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published a final rule on December 21, 2018, implementing the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS). Beginning on January 1, 2022, the NBFDS will require manufacturers, importers, and retailers that package or sell food in bulk to disclose the presence of bioengineered food or food ingredients on product labels intended for retail sale.
Congress on August 3 introduced the Food Labeling Modernization Act of 2021 (H.R. 4917 or 2021 Bill), a bill that proposes to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) to improve requirements related to summary nutrient information found on food labels.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently issued a final rule that marks a major shift in the regulatory landscape for labeling that has already begun to impact other regulatory bodies—namely, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The FTC’s new rule adds teeth to its longtime policy to prevent deceptive “Made in USA” (MUSA) claims, codifies its informal 1997 Enforcement Policy Statement on U.S. Origin Claims, and enables it to seek civil penalties of up to $43,280 for each violation of the rule.

A US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit panel recently affirmed a decision by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approving soy leghemoglobin (also known as “heme”), a soy protein, as a color additive. Ctr. for Food Safety v. U.S. Food & Drug Admin., No. 20-70747, 2021 WL 1739920 (9th Cir. May 3, 2021). Heme is produced using a novel genetically engineered yeast strain that makes Impossible Foods' plant-based burger appear to "bleed."
In an order issued on July 20, Judge Raag Singhal of the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida dismissed a class action lawsuit that claimed Burger King Corporation’s advertising deceived customers by making a “presumption” that its plant-based “Impossible Whopper” patties would be cooked on different grills than those used to cook meats. Williams v. Burger King Corp., Case No. 1:19-cv-24755 (S.D. Fla. July 20, 2020).
FDA Announces Path Forward to Protect Food Supply During COVID-19 Period
The Mexican Ministry of Economy and Federal Commission for the Protection Against Sanitary Risks approved a project on January 24 to modify the mandatory “Official Mexican Standard NOM-051-SCFI/SSA1-2010, General Labeling Specifications for Pre-packaged, Non-alcoholic Foodstuffs and Beverages” (NOM-051).
Whole genome sequencing (WGS) has become the technology of choice for FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to help protect consumers from foodborne illness.
In a late November ruling, Judge Christina Snyder of the US District Court for the Central District of California denied a motion for a preliminary injunction filed by the North American Meat Institute (NAMI), which sought to enjoin enforcement of the California measure known as the Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act, or Proposition 12. N. Am. Meat Inst. v. Becerra et al., Dkt. No. 19-08569 (C.D. Cal. Oct. 4, 2019).
FDA announced on October 24 that it does not intend to take enforcement action against manufacturers in the first six months following the January 1, 2020, deadline to update Nutrition Facts labels on food packaging.