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Long Island Cheese Pumpkin Project

November 14, 2016

IMG_5635The Long Island Cheese Pumpkin Celebration was held this past Saturday and we were lucky enough to be a part. Held at Jimmy’s No. 43 in NYC, the event gave great insight into not only this special pumpkin but also what it takes to bring something like this back to life and back into the hands of consumers.

Ken Ettlinger and Amy Goldman Fowler, pioneer advocates for seed saving,  plant breeding and heirloom fruits and vegetables led the discussion amongst many other important influential players in our food system. Ken Greene, founder of the Hudson Seed Library, Johanna Kolodny, food systems consultant, Derek DiGuglielmo, founder of Eat Local NY, Steph Gaylor owner of Invincible Summer Farms and founding member of the consortium, Jim Richards cask master at Blue Point Brewery and panel moderator extraordinaire Laura Luciano, who is also a founding member of the consortium and influential food writer.img_4801-copy

In addition to the lively and educating discussion, the event allowed us to taste the Long Island Cheese pumpkin prepared by several contestants in a judged portion. Winner Maya’s Jams put together a delicious oreo style cookie filled with cream and their Long Island Pumpkin jam.

Amy Goldman Fowler, was busy signing books from her beautiful collection of coffee table growers guides. Amy’s writing has appeared in such publications as Martha Stewart Living and Organic Gardening. She has been profiled by the New York Times, Washington Post, New York Sun, Organic Style, and Horticulture. In addition, she has appeared on Martha Stewart Living TV and PBS’s The Victory Garden.

img_4790 Ken Greene displayed the brand new 2017 seed art calendars and seed packets. We made sure to pick up cheese pumpkin seeds to share with our friends and favorite Hudson Valley chefs. img_4792

A well-attended, fun, informative, and organized event that truly showcased how it takes a team of like minded individuals who are dedicated to the preservation of our food heritage to bring something like the Long Island Cheese Pumpkin back to life. img_4789

Crop insurance for vegetable and fruit farmers

August 1, 2016

The New Food Economy
has the best article we’ve seen in a long time on crop insurance for vegetable and fruit farmers. According to the article, while 3/4 of commodity grain growers are covered by a federal crop insurance policy, only 1/4 of fruit and vegetable growers have insurance.

If you are a fruit and vegetable farmer that is uninsured, give us your feedback on why you have not opted-in to a policy.

June 23, 2016

downloadShoppers at farmers markets are spending less money on fresh produce. This Washington Post article claims that the shoppers have changed their buying habits: “A lot of people that walk through markets are not shopping. They’re there to meet. They’re there to socialize.” That may be the case, but it is also possible that consumers are getting their local vegetables through other venues. Decreased purchases at farmer’s markets may indicate that consumers are increasing purchases at farmstands, through CSA subscriptions, brick and mortar retailers, restaurants, etc. For the farmers reading this, what are your thoughts? If your yield is constant or increasing, how are you moving the merch if farmers markets are less attractive now than they were 5 years ago?


June 14, 2016

china_630_0Join us on June 17th, 2016 at 8:30 am – 12:00 pm at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center. Hosted by The Accelerator, powered by the Orange County IDA. 

The conference is open to growers, food manufacturers, equipment suppliers, distributors, regulators and academia. The event will focus on challenges facing the food manufacturing sector with a keynote focus on new food safety regulations and process techniques. A thought-provoking panel discussion will be held with industry leaders from prominent Mid-Hudson Valley food manufacturers. There will be networking opportunities before and after the program. The event is free, but registration is required.

To register, visitwww.mhvfoodprocessingconf.eventbrite.com

To learn more, contact Melanie Schouten at 845-234-4449.

Welcome Food Law Firm Graduate Assistant, Satoko Kato

September 8, 2015

We are pleased to announce that our firm is sponsoring a graduate assistantship for the University of Arkansas School of Law’s LLM Program in Agricultural and Food Law. Jason Foscolo, Lauren Handel and Nicole Civita all are graduates of this terrific program. Please help us to welcome Satoko Kato who will be working with us while she pursues her LLM degree. Satoko has incredible experience as an attorney and a true passion for food law. We are thrilled to have her on the Food Law Firm team!

Here is Satoko’s bio:

Satoko Kato has more than ten years of experience working at a top global law firm in New York and Tokyo.  There, she represented multinational corporations in connection with securities offerings, public disclosure and compliance.  She also represented clients in investigations by the Department of Justice in alleged Sherman Act violations.

An omnivore enthusiastic of good food and drinks, she attended culinary school and interned at a commercial kitchen incubator where she became highly inspired by the energy of food entrepreneurs and the unique food and beverages they are bringing to the market.  In the course of communicating with food entrepreneurs, she felt that there is a market to be served in providing good legal counseling.  She aspires to channel her skills and experience into the food and beverage and agriculture industries.

Satoko earned her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center and is an LL.M. candidate in Agricultural and Food Law at the University of Arkansas.  She is excited to be working at Foscolo & Handel PLLC.

Food Law and Policy Weekly Review, February 2 – 6, 2015

February 9, 2015


  • Cornell announced a $712,000 in USDA grant for its Northeast Beginning Farmer Program. Part of the the funding will be dedicated to creating training programs and farmer-to-farmer networks for military veterans transitioning into agriculture. Services to be provided by the Farmer Veteran Coalition.
  • For our New York clients and friends, in the farming community, Farm Bureau of New York is pressing the state legislature for an investment tax credit that would reimburse farmers for their expenses on items that are considered an investment in their business, such as construction supplies, machinery and new technology. The credits are intended to support the efforts of young farmers in particular.
  • If you are a food business subject to regulation by the FDA, you might notice an increase in FDA inspections in 2016. That is because the FDA issued a press release outlining its $4.9 billion budget request for FY 2016. The rationale for the request is to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act. According to the press release, a portion of this budget will be earmarked for the hiring and training of new inspectors.
  • In 2015, certain restaurants will have to comply with FDA guidelines on nutrition labeling. A recent study has indicated that affluent customers are more likely to utilize the kind of information required by the regulations.
  • Natural Products Insider advises supplement manufacturers to have a robust game plan to defend against class-action lawsuits. They recommend manufacturers perform label review by an experienced attorney as part of the risk mitigation strategy. Good advice for food manufacturers as well, and label review is one of our core services.
  • Breyer Ice Cream announced it will no longer be using milk from cows given rBST, recombinant Bovine Growth hormone.
  • D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a previous finding of the Federal Trade Commission that POM Wonderful made deceptive claims in its advertising.

Circle Up: Top 4 Legal Issues for Food Businesses

February 5, 2015

Lauren and Michele put on a great show with the help of our new friends at CircleUp.com. Our team covered the following topics relevant to those seeking to invest in the food industry:

  1. Unlawful or risky marketing claims
  2. Marketing opportunities, such as key product certifications
  3. Managing product liability risks
  4. Unique regulatory compliance and liability concerns for innovative foods

View the full webinar here.

Food Law Bits and Pieces, January 20 – 23

January 22, 2015


  • The Hill has its list of five food policy topics that should be addressed in the State of the Union speech.
  • The National Law Review reports on a recent ruling by a federal judge in Washington holding that manure, when not used as a soil amendment,  may be considered “solid waste” under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
  • The New York Times exposes horrific treatment of animals at a USDA-funded research facility in Nebraska, where scientists are studying techniques to improve livestock yields. If you eat meat you are probably morally obligated to read this, but it’s a bummer.
  • According to a survey conducted by Oklahoma State University, consumers want labeling of foods containing “DNA” in roughly the same percentage as those who want labeling of GMOs. Just as with the old “dihydrogen monoxide” gag, the study reveals more about the scientific ignorance of the sample set than it does about the need or rationale for mandatory GMO labeling.
  • Geek-out on a favorite food law topics of ours: geographic indicators. A Georgia grower of vidalia onions took the state to court to prevent the commissioner of agriculture from enforcing a “no earlier than” packing date meant to keep immature vidalias off of store shelves.
  • After California’s new size regulations on poultry battery cages came into effect in January 2015, it looks like the cost of eggs is going up within the state.
  • More people want to ban raw milk than marijuana according to TIME.
  • Via NPR, the more broken down your chicken is, the more likely it will be contaminated with salmonella. Whole birds are relatively the “cleanest”. Parts and quarters are less so. We are not likely to buy ground chicken anytime soon.

Food Law Bits and Pieces, January 12 – 16

January 15, 2015








  • Eater.com has a long-form piece on a pastured foie gras farmer in Georgia. Friends call him “Chicken Jesus.” Money quote: “If I start doing this thing and it’s bad, like it seems like the geese are getting hurt or I’m not comfortable with it then, man — it’s over. I shut it down and I just have Christmas geese to sell. On the other hand, if I feel good about the process and it works, then I have Christmas geese and foie gras to sell.”
  • Paula Marshall, CEO of Bama Companies, during the keynote speech at the Northwest Food Processors Expo, says that workers who are treated fairly and encouraged to have a sense of ownership in the business are more scrupulous about food safety.
  • The USDA announced a new round of Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development grants with a total amount of $18 M, 5% of which is earmarked for military veterans transitioning into aiculture.
  • Business Insider has some very cool info graphics from the USDA’s livestock census, which shows you where all the meats live.
  • Earlier in the week, Jason participated in a panel discussion at the annual Farm Bureau Federation convention on behalf of The Farmer Veteran Coalition. Farm Bureau covered the event in its publication. You can listen to a podcast of the event here.
  • Capital Press writes on a lawsuit presenting a constitutional challenge to the Idaho “ag gag” law.
  • While we are on the subject, four people were arrested in Utah for photographing a hog farm from a public road, but then charges were dropped according to Food Safety News.  The hog farm produced under contract for Smithfield.
  • Think Progress reports on Senator Chuck Schumer as he calls for more pressure to be put on food warehouses.
  • Medical News Today discusses a study that attempted to quantify the minimum amounts of common allergens that can trigger reactions:  “In the 10% of participants who were most sensitive to food allergens, the team found that between 1.6-10.1 mg of hazelnut, peanut and celery protein needed to be consumed to trigger an allergic reaction, while 27.3 mg of fish and 2.5 g of shrimp protein were required to produce a response.
  • Government officials in the US and EU can now agree on two things: one, Putin is a creepy menace, and two, raw milk is potentially dangerous.
  • The Wall Street Journal reports on the passing of “Toystory”, a champion Holstein bull and sire to an estimated 500,000. Ave atque vale, you prodigious inseminator.

Nicole Civita, of Counsel to Foscolo & Handel PLLC

December 1, 2014


-by Nicole Civita

Upon their arrival in the United States, my great-grandparents began farming a piece of land in what is now New York City’s borough of Queens. Over the course of my grandfather’s life, American agriculture – and the way we relate to food – changed dramatically. As a child, he snuck eggs from the chicken coop and ate them immediately, unwashed and raw. He chased his escaped hogs down Metropolitan Avenue. He woke before the sun to tend a bevy of vegetable crops and fruit trees. As an adult, he continued to cultivate a small patch of land in our backyard, growing the most succulent tomatoes and plentiful pole beans I’ve ever encountered. In his final years, when his bones were too creaky for gardening, he grumbled loudly and often about the endless acres of soybeans surrounding his retirement village: “What’s all this for? And how are we supposed to feed ourselves?”

As a food lawyer, I ask those same questions – loudly and often. I consider it my calling to work on behalf of the intrepid individuals who are trying to change the face of modern farming, fix food, and nourish the next generations.

I am fortunate to be on the faculty of the LL.M. Program in Agricultural and Food Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law, where I get to track the latest developments in food law and policy, analyze how the law shapes our food system, and push for a more equitable, just, and sustainable food future.  As the Director of the University of Arkansas’s newly formed Food Resiliency Initiative, I facilitate interdisciplinary analysis of food system challenges to assure that healthy, adequate food is available and accessible to all – and that farmers and food producers can do well by doing good. I also work with experts in diverse fields to propose full-scope, actionable policy solutions that support responsible, resilient, and just agrifood systems – those that are able to withstand both short term disruptions like market fluctuations and acute natural disasters, as well as long term challenges like climate change, population growth, biodiversity loss, and chronic disease. My work puts me right at the intersections between food and public health, conservation, disaster-preparedness, business and economics, land tenure, fair labor standards, community development and planning, sovereignty, and social justice.  It’s a gratifying place to work.

Today, I am excited to announce that I will be putting my food systems expertise into practice. By working of counsel with Foscolo & Handel PLLC, I look forward to providing concrete and strategic support to stakeholders throughout the food chain. I am eager to help my clients understand the network of legal authorities that frame their farming operations and food businesses. I offer a deep understanding of the individual and systemic challenges that farmers and food businesses face and aim to help my clients explore innovative, efficient solutions.

I couldn’t ask for better colleagues in this effort. Jason, Lauren, and Michele bring a dynamic balance of creativity and exactitude to the practice of law. I am grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with them and contribute to their work, which is both grounded and ground-breaking. Together, we can help you navigate the legal requirements and minimize the risks inherent in the important and delicious work of putting food on the table.

For legal services, reach me at: nicole@foodlawfirm.com / 917-572-8073

For information about the Food Recovery Project, Food Resiliency Initiative, or my academic work: nmcivita@uark.edu / 479-575-2456.