Kelly Damewood

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Kelly Damewood is licensed to practice law in Oregon and calls Portland her home. She is the 2013-14 Marler Clark Graduate Assistant at Food Safety News, and a LLM Candidate in Agriculture and Food Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law. Kelly received her J.D., magna cum laude, from Vermont Law School, and her B.A. in English from the University of Portland. She has had many diverse experiences working in food and agriculture such as running a small organic farm. She tweets about ag and food @KellyDamewood and runs West Coast Ag & Food Law Blog.

Latest Articles

I was involved in urban agriculture before I heard of “urban agriculture.” In 2009, I worked on a farm and helped a community garden in Portland, OR. At that time, growing food within the city limits was not uncommon for a food-loving city like Portland. But now you can find community gardens, backyard homesteads, and even profitable farms in cities across the country. And cities are certainly eager to support urban agriculture for…
You’ve heard it before: “Support your local farmer,” “Eat local,” “Buy local,” etc. But have you heard the term “Support local food safety?” We could argue about the definition of “local” or whether you should support local foods. But, ultimately, if the phrase “Support your local farmer (or coop, or food truck, or deli, or butcher, or whatever)” resonates with you, then chances are you have devoted time, money and energy to food entrepreneurs in…
Recent action by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may smooth the path for food manufacturers to continue to declare sweeteners derived from cane syrup (such as sugar) as “Evaporated Cane Juice” (ECJ) on food labels, at least for the foreseeable future. Last month, FDA announced that it was reopening comments for 60 days on its 2009 draft guidance for declaring ECJ as an ingredient. The announcement states that FDA reopened comments to…
With less than 30 days notice, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally set a date for face-to-face consultation with American Indian tribes and pueblos on its proposed rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). On March 27, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Michael Taylor sent a letter to tribal and pueblo leaders informing them of a consultation to be held on Wednesday, April 23, from 8:30 a.m. to 11…
National and regional marketing agreements and orders may give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) some options as it continues to issue and revise rules to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). In comments to the FSMA proposed rule for produce safety, a number of industry associations asked FDA to take into account food-safety programs that already exist under federal and state marketing agreements and orders. For instance, the California Leafy
Can a food manufacturer determine that an ingredient is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) and maintain trade secrets information on that ingredient? The answer to this question may be more perplexing than Congress originally intended when it created the GRAS exemption to food additives in 1958. At that time, food ingredients were more simple and processing less obscure. But, today, many food manufacturers rely upon expensive technology and science to formulate their products. And, as…
From spices to preservatives, U.S. food manufacturers have access to thousands of globally sourced substances to enhance the flavor, texture, and appeal of their products. But some question whether the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) adequately regulates the safety of these abundant substances. Groups such as The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) are spearheading efforts to reform the food additives regulatory process. These groups are especially critical of the…
A considerable paradox exists in U.S. food policy. Although the federal government has named food safety as a top priority, an entire pocket of the food industry remains largely unregulated by, or at least largely under the radar of, most federal agencies. That pocket is marijuana-infused food. The term “marijuana-infused food” may spark memories of brownies from days past, but, today, marijuana food is a robust industry. Now manufacturers make everything from marijuana beverages
Update: This article has been edited to remove references to caramel coloring. What do trans fat, caffeine and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have in common? Each of these distinct, seemingly unrelated food controversies actually shares a common origin: the generally recognized as safe (GRAS) process. In fact, a wide range of food controversies — from sweeteners to energy drinks — are directly related to GRAS. GRAS is a legal term describing certain food ingredients that…
Do you ever wonder how controversial ingredients end up in your food in the first place? For instance, why are energy drink companies allowed to add novel ingredients such as botanical extracts to their products? And why were companies ever allowed to use partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), a major source of artificial trans fat, in processed foods? In other words, can companies add whatever ingredients they want? Or does the federal government have a…