Federal control of cherry industry at center of legal battle

Aug 3, 2015

A legal dispute between an Elk Rapids food processor and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is headed back to court. Burnette Foods filed the lawsuit in 2012, claiming an administrative board that controls the cherry industry is antiquated.

Owner Bill Sherman says the cherry board has had a negative effect on his business.

“We have huge amounts of imports coming into the U.S. of tart cherry products and at the same time, we are not allowed to sell our products under the threat of severe financial penalties," says Sherman.

One administrative judge agreed with Burnette Foods but a second judge sided with the USDA. The court has agreed to hear the case again.

Both sides are preparing legal briefs in anticipation of another hearing.