This regular publication by DLA Piper lawyers focuses on helping clients navigate the ever-changing business, legal and regulatory landscape.
- Chobani may face a new wave of lawsuits concerning fungus in its Greek yogurts. Some attorneys and food experts say the fungus found in Chobani Greek yogurts, which were voluntarily recalled last fall, may be more virulent than originally believed and that the company may face a wave of product-liability litigation as a result. The assertions are based on a scientific article published July 8 in an American Society for Microbiology journal. However, such a product-liability case would be very difficult to prove for reasons involving causation and other issues.
- White House food policy czar not allowed to present at School Nutrition Association conference. In the latest manifestation of the rift between the White House and the School Nutrition Association over school lunch standards, Sam Kass, Michelle Obama’s food policy czar and celebrity chef, was prevented from speaking at the association’s annual convention July 13-16 in Boston. The association, which originally allied itself with the White House’s push for more healthful school meals, has distanced itself lately from the cause as it seeks a legislative waiver from standards under the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.
- Class action against Whole Foods will proceed. On July 2, a federal judge in Northern California decided to permit a nationwide class action against Whole Foods over “all natural” label claims on products that contain sodium acid pyrophosphate to move forward, despite concerns that some provisions of the suit may only be pertinent under California law. Judge Vince Chhabria made the ruling in the case of Garrison et al. v. Whole Foods Market Group.
- New York mayor continues to pursue campaign against super-sized sodas. Although New York state’s highest court recently struck down New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s effort to ban super-sized sodas in the city, the mayor said on June 28 that he will try to accomplish the same goal in a different way. The mayor hopes to persuade the City Council to pass legislation enforcing a 16-ounce limit on sodas and other sugary beverages. Many council members have indicated in the past that they are opposed to such a measure.
- USDA Dietary Guidelines amid controversy. To fill the post of executive director at the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP), the USDA has hired Angela Tagtow, an environmental nutritionist. CNPP is charged with implementing and promoting the forthcoming 2015 Dietary Guidelines. Tagtow’s expertise in sustainable food systems has led to questions from industry leaders, asking whether the guidelines will address broader food policy issues. Policymakers have also cautioned against heading in this direction in report language for the FY2015 House Agriculture Appropriations.