published Monday, March 24th, 2014

Judge rules GA agriculture commissioner can't change rules on Vidalias

ATLANTA — A judge says Georgia's agriculture commissioner overstepped his authority when he changed rules so he could determine when Vidalia onions can be harvested and shipped.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Fulton County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Wright ruled last week. She said state law gives Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black authority over packaging rules but does not allow him to decide when the onions can be shipped.

A spokeswoman for Black said the state attorney general was reviewing the order.

Black in August said the iconic sweet onions could not be shipped before the last week of April. He was responding to fears Vidalia onions weren't as sweet as they should be.

Delbert Bland, one of the largest growers of Vidalia onions, sued Black over the rule change.

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