Category Archives: GMO, Food & Beverage

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Is Counting Calories a Cost or a Benefit?

This month, food industry trade groups called on the Food & Drug Administration to halt its new food labeling law requiring food establishments to publish the calorie content of menu items. Organizations like the National Grocers Association (NGA) and the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) continue to argue against the law. The major reason: … Continue Reading

Monsanto Uses the Constitution to Challenge Warning Labels for Herbicide

Monsanto has, at least temporarily, lost its fight to avoid a Prop 65 warning label on its products containing glyphosate, a chemical used in the popular herbicide Roundup. On January 27, 2017, a California judge tentatively dismissed Monsanto’s claims that the State of California unconstitutionally turned to an unelected, European organization to decide whether glyphosate … Continue Reading

Food Fight: More Labeling Litigation in 2017

Food labeling litigation increased significantly last year, with many consumer groups alleging that products were misleadingly labeled and violated U.S. Food and Drug Administration labeling requirements. Consumers targeted phrases like “all natural,” “preservative-free,” or having “no preservatives.” But FDA rules are unclear as to what these terms mean, which will likely spur more labeling litigation … Continue Reading

Federal GMO Disclosure Law Creates Uniform Standards for Food Manufacturers & Provides Options for Disclosure

This summer President Obama signed a new federal law requiring food manufacturers to disclose information regarding genetically modified organisms (GMO). The new law is different from the 2015 proposed GMO legislation which restricted states from enacting GMO labeling laws but didn’t contain federal labeling requirements. The law represents a compromise between consumer groups and food manufacturers: … Continue Reading

Truly Whole Foods? The FDA Thinks Not

We wrote last month about the challenges facing Chipotle, a favorite restaurant of many Americans. Now another industry leader is facing similar challenges. Whole Foods Market Inc. has had a tough few years. Most recently, the Food and Drug Administration, in a series of crackdowns, told the industry’s leading company to clean up its act. … Continue Reading

GE Salmon: What’s Really at Steak

In April 2016, we posted about the lawsuit brought by environmental food and safety groups, along with fisherman trade associations, to reverse the FDA’s approval of a genetically engineered (GE) salmon. The complaint alleges that the FDA failed to evaluate how the GE salmon will impact the environment and that the farmed salmon will inevitably … Continue Reading

Chipotle Faces New Challenges

Are Chipotle’s problems over?  Not yet.  Chipotle’s stock price  plummeted after a series of foodborne illness outbreaks linked to its stores. Chipotle continues to face new lawsuits related to its food safety problems. This one comes from its investors: Chipotle shareholders have alleged that the fast food chain failed to disclose that “its quality controls … Continue Reading

Lawsuit Challenges FDA Approval of Genetically Engineered Salmon

Last November, we posted that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved a genetically engineered (GE) salmon: AquaBounty Techonologies’ AquAdvantage Salmon. This approval marked the first time that the FDA authorized selling a genetically engineered animal for human consumption. Immediate backlash followed the FDA’s November 19, 2015 announcement from environmental and consumer advocacy groups. … Continue Reading

FDA Approves First Genetically Engineered Animal for Human Consumption

On November 19, 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved as fit for human consumption a genetically engineered (GE) salmon. AquaBounty Technologies AquAdvantage Salmon has been modified to grow faster than non-engineered farmed salmon. This marks the first time the FDA has authorized the sale of a genetically engineered animal as food. Because the … Continue Reading

Peanut Butter Pick-Me-Up

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is again voicing concern about caffeinated foods. The latest in caffeine-laden food trends is a new caffeinated peanut butter which boasts the equivalent of two cups of coffee in two tablespoons of peanut butter. In a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Senator Schumer urged the agency to investigate … Continue Reading

A Meaty Issue: Do Red and Processed Meats Cause Cancer?

Hot dogs, sausages, and corned beef now have something in common with asbestos, benzene, and ionizing radiation.  They are in the same class of cancer-causing substances, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) cancer agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).  The organization’s October 26, 2015 press release states that a group of … Continue Reading

The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act Restricts State and Local Government from Regulating GMO in Food

On July 23, 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would restrict state and local governments from regulating the use of genetically modified (GM) plants in food if that regulation affects interstate commerce. The bill, H.R. 1599, passed in a 275-150 vote after the bill’s main sponsor, Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., claimed that … Continue Reading

UPDATE: Ice Cream Recall Begets First Lawsuit

In April 2015, Blue Bell Creameries announced a full, nationwide recall of all its products.  It didn’t take long for a lawsuit to be filed. On Tuesday, the first lawsuit seeking to hold Blue Bell liable for illness caused by listeria-contaminated ice cream was filed in the United States District Court, Western District of Texas. … Continue Reading

Grocery Freezers Empty as Blue Bell Conducts Massive Ice Cream Recall

Last night, Texas-based Blue Bell Creamery announced a full, nationwide recall of all its products. This is a significant expansion of the recall Blue Bell began earlier this month after three deaths in Kansas from listeria – the first recall in the company’s 108-year history. The initial recall was limited to specific products, but was expanded … Continue Reading

Spring Cleaning: Throwing Junk Science Where It Belongs

Almost every day we are bombarded with reports of scientific studies purportedly proving that exposure to, or consumption of, some substance will cause us harm. Recent examples include claims that vaccines cause autism, BPA kills, and genetically modified foods engender disease. While there is little to no filter on what “science” is presented to the general … Continue Reading

Updates on West Coast GMO Battles

In California, a federal judge approved a class certification motion in a suit against ConAgra Food Inc. for alleged mislabeling of its Wesson oil products.  The dispute is based on allegations that ConAgra mislabeled oil as “100% natural.”  Plaintiffs argue the oil is not natural because it contains genetically modified ingredients. Further up the coast … Continue Reading

Food Safety Fears Prompt Proposed Overhaul of Federal Agencies

On the heels of a listeria outbreak associated with caramel apples and a similar proposal by two members of Congress, President Obama has proposed forming a single, centralized federal food safety agency. More than a dozen federal agencies now have authority over food safety issues, although the FDA currently holds the most responsibility. The various … Continue Reading

FDA Proposes Overhaul of Nutrition Labels

For the first time in 18 years, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing to overhaul nutrition labels. The proposed changes, if approved, will require manufacturers to make significant changes to their labels.  Preliminary recommendations have been issued, the comment period has closed, and the final rules should be announced before the end of 2015. The FDA’s proposed rules recommend changes to both … Continue Reading

EU States May Get the Right to Say “No” to GMO

European Union lawmakers have agreed to pursue legislation that will allow each member state to ban genetically modified organisms (“GMOs”) from growing within their borders.  According to a December 4, 2014, press release the European Parliament reached a provisional political agreement on the draft legislation on GMO cultivation.  Even when GMOs have been deemed safe, this proposal … Continue Reading

The California “Sugar Wars” Continue

Sugar-sweetened drinks in Berkeley, California, might get a little more expensive.  This week, voters in Berkeley, California went to the polls and supported passing a one-cent-per-ounce tax on the distribution of sugary beverages.  The November 2014 ballot initiative overwhelmingly passed with more than 3/4 of voters favoring the tax.  The vote makes Berkeley the first … Continue Reading