Compassion Over Killing v. United States Food & Drug Administration

849 F.3d 849 (2017)

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Compassion Over Killing v. United States Food & Drug Administration

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
849 F.3d 849 (2017)

  • Written by Haley Gintis, JD

Facts

The nonprofit organization Compassion Over Killing, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and individual egg consumers (plaintiffs) sued the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) (government entities) (defendants). The organizations and egg consumers argued that the government entities had acted arbitrarily and capriciously by denying their request to issue a proposed rule. The proposed rule would require egg producers to label all egg cartons whether the egg-producing hen was free-range, cage-free, or caged. The organizations and egg consumers alleged that the rule was necessary because egg-consumers were misled by carton labels and because caged hens produced less-nutritious eggs with a higher rate of Salmonella. The FSIS and AMS each claimed it had no statutory authority to promulgate the rule. The FDA and FTC claimed that there was no evidence that the current labels were misleading or that the status of the hen affected the eggs’ quality. Additionally, the FDA and FTC claimed that its resources were better spent by pursuing individual actions against any egg producers that were intentionally misleading. The district court found that the government entities had not acted arbitrarily and capriciously. The court granted the government entities’ motion for summary judgment. The organizations and individuals appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Murguia, J.)

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