Groups file for COOL injunction: As part of a lawsuit filed July 8 seeking to block implementation of a mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rule that the U.S. Department of Agriculture finalized in May, nine organizations representing the U.S., Canadian and Mexican meat and livestock industries asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to grant a preliminary injunction. In a request filed July 26, the groups asserted that they "are very likely to succeed on the merits, and the final rule will likely be vacated, but if it is not enjoined in the meantime, the final rule will irreparably harm meat industry participants. Plaintiffs are trade organizations that represent regulated entities facing immediate and substantial burdens and costs under the final rule." The injunction request follows the complaint and: (1) outlines the burden to the plaintiffs' First Amendment speech rights, (2) explains that the COOL rule exceeds the authority granted to USDA in the 2008 farm bill and (3) demonstrates that the rule is arbitrary and capricious, offering little benefit to consumers while fundamentally altering the meat and poultry industry.
OIE vet twinning project launched: The University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and Chiang Mai University in Thailand have launched a veterinary education twinning project under the World Organization for Animal Health's (OIE) Veterinary Education Twinning Program. "Twinning" is an approach that enables peer-to-peer exchange of knowledge, ideas and experience between two universities and is part of a wider OIE initiative to improve the capacity of veterinary services in developing countries. Veterinary services are recognized as "global public goods," and quality veterinary education is a cornerstone of good veterinary service. However, in many countries, mostly developing and in-transition countries, the quality of veterinary education fails to meet the requirements for the delivery of highly competent veterinary services. The OIE Veterinary Education Twinning Program is expected to create opportunities for member countries to develop modern educational facilities and methods based on accepted international standards. The two-year Chiang Mai-University of Minnesota Veterinary Education Twinning Project aims to ensure that graduates meet OIE recommendations on the competencies of graduating veterinarians and comply with OIE international recommendations, an announcement said.
Maple Leaf to divest turkey farms: Canadian meat processor Maple Leaf Foods announced a pair of agreements July 22 to sell its commercial turkey farms and breeding operation. The transaction, which is expected to close by month's end, will involve selling the commercial turkey farms to Emald Enterprises and the breeder farms and hatchery to Cuddy Farms. Terms of the sales were not disclosed. Maple Leaf's turkey growing operations employ more than 100 people in southern Ontario and include a hatchery, six breeder farms and six commercial farms that supply market-ready live birds to the company's turkey processing facility. The deal also includes a long-term supply agreement between Emald and Maple Leaf for a continued supply of birds to the facility. "Divesting our turkey growing operations will allow us to focus on, and direct capital to, growth and innovation in our value-added turkey processing business," Maple Leaf chief executive officer Michael McCain said. "The transaction ensures a long-term supply of high-quality turkeys at competitive prices."
Lysine patent lawsuit filed: Ajinomoto Co. Inc. and Ajinomoto Eurolysine S.A.S. filed a new patent infringement suit on July 25 against Global Bio-chem Technology Group Co. Ltd. (GBT) and its three subsidiaries before the District Court in The Hague, Netherlands, over feed-use lysine. So far, various courts in Europe have issued injunctions against GBT. However, the Ajinomoto companies claim that GBT infringed on another patent owned by Ajinomoto. Ajinomoto and Ajinomoto Eurolysine have requested the court to order GBT to stop selling the infringing lysine immediately, to recall already-sold lysine and also to pay damages. The companies recently requested that authorities seize several samples of GBT lysine sold in Europe, and after careful analysis, they are of the opinion that the lysine presently sold by GBT infringes on Ajinomoto Co.'s patents. In the new proceedings, the Ajinomoto companies asserted a new European patent (EP 1 664 318), which is valid until 2025. This patent is different from the three patents for which the companies filed complaints against GBT in the Netherlands and other European countries.
NRCS chief: Jason Weller has been named chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Weller has been acting associate chief since his predecessor, Dave White, stepped down. Previously, he served as White's chief of staff. Ann Mills, NRCS acting undersecretary, said Weller, as acting chief, has "moved swiftly to transform NRCS's administrative functions, support the expansion of innovative programs and initiatives — including landscape conservation initiatives, regulatory certainty, soil health and market-based programs — and raise the external profile of the world's premier private land conservation agency."