JUSTICE ASKS U.S. SUPREME COURT TO HEAR USDA MUSHROOM CASE
The U.S. Department of Justice has petitioned the Supreme Court to hear a case of whether a USDA mushroom research and promotion program is unconstitutional.
The program, the Mushroom Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, requires mushroom importers to pay for advertising and promotions. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on Nov. 23, 1999, ruled in USDA vs. United Foods that the USDA program violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The appeals court denied a rehearing four months later.
The Supreme Court is expected to either accept or refuse to hear the case within the next few months. If the court refuses and the appeals court ruling becomes final, the mushroom importers could be due for a refund of the promotion program fees.
The USDA's research and promotion programs are intended to expand, maintain and develop markets for agricultural commodities in the United States and abroad. The agency has 13 programs similar to the one for mushroom shippers, including cotton, beef, pork and honey.