Covington draws on nearly a century of experience in food and beverage law to help our clients achieve their marketing and business goals while managing regulatory and litigation risks. In addition to this experience, as well as the expertise and insights of numerous former high-ranking FDA and FTC officials, our lawyers bring a keen appreciation for the challenges as well as the opportunities facing the food and beverage industry at this time of heightened national attention to food safety and the relationship between food and health.
Covington provides a full range of services to assist clients in all aspects of food and beverage product development, labeling, and promotion, to ensure that such products are created and marketed effectively and in a manner that is compliant with the legal requirements of the FDA, FTC, and state and local laws where applicable. At the formulation stage, we help clients ensure that ingredients used in foods and beverages are lawful, and help secure regulatory approvals or authorizations when needed. Our work in this arena includes substantial experience with new food technologies as irradiation, DNA techniques, and other forms of genetic engineering. Regarding sourcing and manufacturing, we assist clients in qualifying their suppliers and ensuring that current good manufacturing practices (cGMPs) are followed. For claims in labeling and advertising, our attorneys are expert in the development of technical substantiation and claim language to best convey the health benefits of products within the applicable legal frameworks. Additionally, Covington’s food and beverage lawyers have been at the forefront of issues relating to current concerns about obesity and marketing to children, advising clients on marketing strategies and claims.
Where enforcement actions or litigation arise, our attorneys successfully represent clients before the FDA, FTC, NAD, and in litigation at the state and federal levels.
In the USDA-regulated arena, the firm has expertise with the regulations and policies of the Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Food and Nutrition Service, as well as with the regulation of GE food plants by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and with commodity marketing in conjunction with the Agricultural Marketing Service. The firm also has extensive expertise in the organic foods sector, representing many of the world’s most recognized organic consumer brands.
Firm lawyers are experienced in assisting individual companies, coalitions and trade associations in developing and executing “multi-branch” strategies and regulatory solutions to address legislative and regulatory risks and opportunities. The firm brings to its current work an unparalleled record of involvement with the most important legislative developments in the food arena, including playing a key role in the development of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 (NLEA), the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act of 1997 (FDAMA), and the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010 (FSMA).
- We have handled numerous recalls in coordination with regulators and scientific and public relations experts in a manner that minimized business disruption, costs, and damage to companies and brands.
- We advise clients about the implications of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, including its effect on FDA’s current inspection and enforcement activities.
- We counsel food and beverage companies receiving warning letters from FDA, including drafting responses to such letters, representing clients in meetings with the agency, and providing strategic advice to minimize the risk of subsequent litigation or adverse investor responses.
- We have advised a number of clients on whether reports to FDA’s new Reportable Food Registry are required in particular circumstances.
- We have secured the release of imports from FDA holds in a timely manner to preserve the marketability of the food products, including perishable goods.
- We advise clients regarding issues relating to marketing to children and prepared responses to FTC and CARU inquiries regarding such marketing.
- We advise restaurant and food company clients regarding the new Federal menu labeling requirements.
- We obtained Congressional reversal of a crippling federal court decision that would have compelled removal of the USDA seal from approximately 90% of organic products and resulted in a likely market loss of nearly 1 billion dollars in the first year after the ruling.
- We defended a beverage marketer in FTC investigation of substantiation for health benefit claims in advertising.
- Chambers Global (2012)
- Life Sciences, Global-wide
- Chambers USA (2012)
- Life Sciences, Nationwide
- Food & Beverages, Regulatory & Litigation, Nationwide
- Clausen Ely, Miriam Guggenheim, and Peter Barton Hutt
- Life Sciences, CA
- Chambers UK (2012)
- Life Sciences, UK-wide
- Life Sciences, Regulatory, UK-wide
- Product Liability, Food, UK-wide
- Chambers Asia (2012)
- Life Sciences (International Firms), China
- PLC Cross-border Super League
- Ranked 1st in the Life Sciences Regulatory Super League (2004-2011)
- Ranked 1st in the Life Sciences Industry Super League (2005-2010)
- PLC - Life Sciences, Which Law Firm? (2012)
- Leading: Life Sciences, England, EU, and USA
- Leading; Government Enforcement and Investigations, USA
- Leading: Regulatory, Belgium, England, EU, and USA
- Highly Recommended: Life Sciences, Belgium
- Legal 500 US (2012)
- Healthcare – Life Sciences
- Legal 500 EMEA (2011)
- LMG Life Sciences (2012)