The cigar industry received a temporary reprieve in one of the most difficult hurdles to overcome in the FDA’s regulations for premium cigars: standard equivalence. Starting September 9th of this year, cigar companies would have had to stop selling cigars in the USA that weren’t deemed equivalent to cigars made prior to February 15th, 2007. Demonstrating this equivalence would have been difficult and expensive.
U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta ruled today that these regulations would be placed on indefinite hold. While Judge Mehta didn’t strike down the rule entirely, he did give it a serious blow by at least temporarily removing it as an obstacle.
This will force the Food and Drug Administration to come up with a new streamlined process for cigars to be approved as “substantially equivalent” to products existing before 2007. Therefore, while this isn’t an end to this portion of the regulation, it is welcomed relief for the industry.
The entire 38-page ruling can be viewed here.