Enlist’s New Years Surprise, French Dressing Breaks Free and Other News

Enlist Herbicides Legal News

Renewed Registrations for Enlist Herbicides add Surprises

EPA renewed the registrations for Enlist One and Enlist Duo earlier this month, approving both for seven years. The renewals came with a few surprises, in particular, an extensive list of counties where Enlist applications are banned. As reported by DTN Progressive Farmer, Enlist Duo’s new label prohibits use in 217 counties, and Enlist One is prohibited in 169 counties, “with the bulk falling in Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas.” To a large degree the new restrictions stem from the EPA’s first full analysis of the effect of the herbicides on endangered species and critical habitats. Other label changes, such as downwind buffers, were added to reduce off-target movement. Some growers have been left holding the bag (literally) since they ordered Enlist-tolerant seed early, only to find that they will be unable to utilize the herbicide trait. The lack of any warning or communication that these restrictions were coming has caused a great deal of frustration among growers and seed dealers in the affected areas.
The Arkansas counties where Enlist is banned are all located on the Western side of the State:

  • Crawford
  • Franklin
  • Johnson
  • Little River
  • Logan, Montgomery
  • Polk
  • Scott
  • Sebastian
  • Sevier
  • Yell

Helpful guidance from the Arkansas Extension Service can be found here.

French Dressing Breaks Free from FDA’s Regulatory Grip

After 72 years of mandating what could legally qualify as French Dressing, the FDA has decided to revoke its standard of identity for the salad dressing. The Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act authorizes the FDA to establish definitions and standards for foods to promote honesty, fair dealing, and prohibit misbranding (USDA has similar authority over meat & poultry). Over the years the FDA has established hundreds of food standards, some which were quite specific – for example, French Dressing. The FDA’s standard for the dressing required it to contain at least 35% vegetable oil and at least one acidifying ingredient (vinegar, lemon or lime juice). Optional ingredients included such ingredients as salt, spices and natural flavorings, tomato paste, sherry wine, and eggs. The FDA’s decision resolves a petition filed by the Association of Dressings and Sauces (yes, this trade group actually exists) 24 years ago to deregulate French Dressing. It is somewhat remarkable that the Federal government ever felt the need to regulate French Dressing. For that matter, its just as remarkable that dressing & sauce makers need their own lobbying group. While I generally reach for the Ranch (and occasionally a balsamic vinaigrette), I may have to give French another chance in light of its newfound freedom to make my leafy greens taste less like leafy greens.

Secret Experiment of the Secret Society of Seed Scientists

A secret society of seed scientists has been operating at Michigan State University for over 142 years. The society shepherds one of the world’s longest running plant biology experiments – how long do weed seeds remain viable in the soil. Long before mechanical tillage and herbicides became tools for crop production, Michigan State professor William J. Beal wanted to help farmers eliminate weeds. Thus, Beal began the weed-seed-viability experiment by filling bottles with 23 species of weed seed and sand, and then buried the bottles at a secret location on campus. Initially, a bottle was dug up every 5 years, then every 10 years, and since 1980, every 20 years. The seeds are then planted back in the University’s seed lab to see if they will germinate. Every bottle excavation over the 140-year experiment has produced sprouts from the weed seeds. Four bottles remain buried, which will give the experiment another 80 years to continue.

Cape Law Firm’s Frequently (or Randomly) Asked Questions

Can a plant variety be protected by a utility patent and a Plant Variety Protection Certificate?

Yes, a plant that meets the qualifications for a utility patent as well as a Plant Variety Protection Certificate can be protected under both. This Supreme Court answered this question in a case where it was argued that sexually reproducing plants could only be protected under the Plant Variety Protection Act (PVPA). The Court held that plants could be protected under either law so as long as the specific requirements of each were met. Obtaining a PVPA certificate is somewhat less stringent than obtaining a utility patent, although the protections provided under both laws are quite similar.

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