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updated: 4/15/2014 9:14 PM

Georgia judge won't stop new Vidalia onion rule

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  • Workers harvest a Vidalia onion field in Lyons, Ga. One of Georgia's most prominent growers of Vidalia asked a judge Tuesday to protect him from possible sanctions by state agriculture officials as he prepares to ship his crop to grocery stores ahead of the official start date imposed by a new regulation aimed at keeping unripe onions off the market.

      Workers harvest a Vidalia onion field in Lyons, Ga. One of Georgia's most prominent growers of Vidalia asked a judge Tuesday to protect him from possible sanctions by state agriculture officials as he prepares to ship his crop to grocery stores ahead of the official start date imposed by a new regulation aimed at keeping unripe onions off the market.
    ASSOCIATED PRESS

 
Associated Press

REIDSVILLE, Ga. -- A Georgia judge says the state agriculture commissioner can proceed with enforcing a new regulation aimed at stopping unripe Vidalia onions from reaching store shelves.

Superior Court Judge Jay Stewart ruled Tuesday against one of Georgia's most prominent Vidalia onion growers, who argued Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black should be stopped from enforcing the new rule because an Atlanta judge struck it down last month. Black says the regulation is still in effect while state attorneys file an appeal.

Farmer Delbert Bland has been fighting the commissioner in court over the rule, which says no Vidalia onions can be packed for shipping before the last full week of April. Other farmers support the regulation as a means of protecting the reputation and quality of Vidalia onions.

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