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Non-California Milk Producers Must Comply with California Milk Standards
Description California high court held that out-of-state milk producers that sell milk in California must comply with state labeling standards, which are more stringent than the federal standards. The state has permission from the federal government to have its own standards.
Topic Consumer Protection
Key Words Food; Labeling StandardsStrikebreaker Statute; Preemption
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts The Milk and Milk Products Act of California sets standards and labeling requirements for milk sold in the state. There are also FDA standards regarding milk labeling as to nutrition, but the California requirements are more stringent, so federal approval was required for California to deviate from the national standards. The state sued Shamrock Foods, an Arizona company, for violating the state standards. Shamrock contended that it complied with the federal standards. The trial court held for the state. Shamrock was ordered to pay $700,000 in civil penalties and to comply with state standards. The appeals court reversed, finding that the state standards could be interpreted to be the same as the federal standards. The state appealed.
Decision Reversed. The state statute sets its own standards and does not provide for any alternative federal standard for milk. All sellers in the state must comply with state standards, which go beyond the federal standards, and are allowed, by federal law, to do so. The state statute was designed with specific consumer information benefits in mind. Sellers do not have the option of complying with either federal or state standards; they must comply, in California, with state standards.
Citation People v. Shamrock Foods Co., 101 Cal.Rptr.2d 200 (Sup. Ct., Calif., 2000)

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