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February 22, 2013

California almond rancher loses food safety challenge

Several organic California #almond ranchers have lost a #legal challenge to #USDA food safety rules imposed after a salmonella outbreak.

In a decision issued Friday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the challenge brought by Nick Koretoff and other organic almond growers who argued the Agriculture Department exceeded its authority when it required that California almonds sold domestically to be treated with heat or chemicals.

A trial court had ruled against the farmers, several times. In the decision Friday, the D.C. Circuit concluded that the farmers had waived their claims by failing to raise them during the USDA rulemaking process.

The decision is a victory for the Modesto-based Almond Board of California, which administers the agricultural marketing order by which the industry regulates quality control, research and advertising. The board recommended new safety rules in 2006 following incidents of salmonella contamination, and the Agriculture Department subsequently put them in place.

The appellate decision, though, is another defeat for Koretoff and others who complain the required treatments undermine their ability to sell organic produce for a premium price.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/01/19/136385/judge-raw-almonds-must-be-treated.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy


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"Suits & Sentences" is a legal affairs blog written by Michael Doyle, a reporter for McClatchy's Washington Bureau. He was a Knight Journalism Fellow at Yale Law School, where he earned a Master of Studies in Law; he also earned a Masters in Government from The Johns Hopkins University with a thesis on the Freedom of Information Act. He teaches journalism as an adjunct instructor at The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs.

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