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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. Our attorneys provide a full range of services to assist our clients in all aspects of product development, safety, labeling, and promotion, as well as overarching nutrition and public health policy considerations, in the United States, Europe, China, and elsewhere across the globe.
We advise leading food, beverage, and dietary supplement companies and trade associations on the broad range of issues that may arise from product conception through promotion.
Product and Ingredient Safety
We help our clients establish the safety of their products and ingredients, including through GRAS determinations, food and color additive approvals, new dietary ingredient analyses, and assessments of food biotechnology and nanotechnology. Covington attorneys are leading experts on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and FDA’s new implementing regulations. When problems arise, our experts help companies navigate through product recalls and market withdrawals with minimal business disruption or damage to brands.
Labeling, Claims, and Marketing Considerations
We help our clients convey the attributes and benefits of their products in a compelling and compliant manner, helping them craft and substantiate health benefit claims, successfully securing FDA-authorized health claims, and analyzing the most advantageous regulatory category for their products – conventional food or beverage, dietary supplement, medical food, or food for special dietary use.
Import and Export
When products are detained at the border, we help secure their release in a timely manner to preserve the marketability of the goods. We also facilitate the export of foods across the globe by helping to secure appropriate export certificates and to ensure compliance with the requirements of the foreign markets.
Global Market Access
Where regulators in various parts of the world attempt to restrict the sale or importation of our clients’ products, we help challenge or defeat restrictions that are not based in sound science, including by leveraging the expertise of our colleagues in our International Trade and global Public Policy and Government Affairs practices.
Enforcement, Litigation, and Legislation
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. We also take advantage of legislative opportunities and manage legislative risks, including through our representation of a number of major food and dietary supplement trade associations, for whom we help influence regulatory and legislative policy from a broad industry platform.
Successfully warded off potential California Proposition 65 lawsuits regarding 4-MEI in sodas and lead in juices, and successfully represented companies in litigation regarding lead in chocolate and mercury in tuna.
Defense of beverage manufacturer in FTC investigation of substantiation for health benefit claims in advertising.
Defense of beverage marketer against allegations of deceptive marketing under the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act.
Successfully defended the substantiation for health benefit claims made by a food manufacturer facing a challenge before the NAD.
Prepared influential comments to FDA on behalf of major food trade association clients regarding front-of-pack (FOP) labeling and potential changes to the Nutrition Facts panel.
On behalf of a major food trade association, helped influence the development of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to minimize unnecessary and costly burdens on industry.
Helped influence the development of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to minimize unnecessary and costly burdens on industry, and represent clients with respect to food safety laws, health benefits claims, and compliance matters.
Representation of industry stakeholders in negotiations and legislative process leading to every major amendment to the FDCA since its enactment in 1938.
Assist client in designing, planning, and establishing a significant new animal health business.
Working with pet food and animal feed companies on preparing and filing GRAS notifications, food additive petitions and AAFCO feed ingredient definition applications for animal feed and pet food ingredients.
Assist animal health companies successfully respond to FDA enforcement actions, including Warning Letters and Form 483 observations.
Defense of administrative compliance actions and investigations brought by the USDA under the Animal Welfare Act and assistance with conducting internal investigations related to such actions.
Representation of animal food and drug clients in connection with FDA and USDA import detentions, import refusals, re-exportations and destructions of refused imports, and successful petitions for removal from FDA Import Alerts.
Co-lead counsel for POM Wonderful in landmark advertising litigation with FTC concerning health claims for food products.
Representation of a leading Caribbean-based international beverage company in an LCIA arbitration against the former controlling shareholders of a major European-based company that was acquired by our client and in successfully handling a London-sited UNCITRAL arbitration administered by the LCIA.
January 23, 2017, Covington Alert
On Friday, President Trump (through his Chief of Staff) issued a memorandum directing all federal agencies to place a freeze on new or pending federal regulations so that the Trump Administration can review them. This alert explains the scope of this action and analyzes its potential impact on key food regulatory initiatives.
On January 9, 2017, eight Chinese ministries announced a significant new policy that aims to reduce marked-up prices and corruption in multi-tier distribution chains. The policy effectively requires that under most circumstances, at most two invoices may be issued throughout the distribution chain, with one from the manufacturer to a distributor and another from ...
January 5, 2017, Covington Alert
Yesterday, FDA issued a long-anticipated draft guidance intended to help industry comply with the agency’s May 2016 final rules modernizing nutrition labeling. Presented in a question-and-answer format, the draft guidance (Q&A Draft Guidance) provides information related to the compliance date, labeling of added sugars, rounding of the declaration of ...
January 3, 2017
WASHINGTON—Law360 has named six Covington lawyers as MVPs in their respective practice areas. The awards single out lawyers from across various practice areas based on their “success in high-stakes litigation, complex global matters, and record-breaking deals.”
The Covington lawyers recognized as Law360 MVPs are:
Shara Aranoff, International Trade. Ms. ...
December 20, 2016, Law360
Law360 selected Jessica O’Connell as a 2016 Food & Beverage MVP and profiled her involvement in FDA’s decision to review its “healthy” labeling regulations after convincing the agency to refrain from taking legal action against Kind LLC over allegedly misleading labeling of snack bars. According to O’Connell, her intimate understanding of the FDA was helpful as ...
December 7, 2016, Covington Alert
In October 2014, the Nagoya Protocol entered into force. It created a new international regulatory system affecting all life science companies that conduct R&D on biological material such as animals, seeds, flowers, viruses, fragrances, flavonoids, essential oils, enzymes, yeasts, and so on. So far, compliance by companies is progressing slowly due to ...
November 30, 2016, Covington Alert
On November 22, FDA issued two long-anticipated dietary fiber documents that inform its May 2016 revisions to the nutrition information required to appear on food labels: the Draft Guidance for Industry: Scientific Evaluation of the Evidence on the Beneficial Physiological Effects of Isolated or Synthetic Non-digestible Carbohydrates Submitted as a Citizen ...
November 2, 2016, Covington Alert
Last week, FDA released a draft guidance1 clarifying requirements for the “disclosure statement” provisions of its four major Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules. Entities subject to these provisions must disclose, in documents accompanying the food, that certain hazards have not been controlled. The draft guidance provides insight into the circumstances ...
October 17, 2016, Law360
September 27, 2016, Covington Alert
Today, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a guidance document communicating its intent to exercise enforcement discretion regarding certain uses of “healthy” in food labeling for products that do not meet FDA’s current “healthy” regulatory requirements but that contain predominantly “good fats” or are a good source of certain nutrients (“healthy” ...
August 31, 2016
LOS ANGELES—Wade Ackerman has joined Covington as a partner in its Food, Drug, and Device practice, resident in Los Angeles.
Until June 2016, Mr. Ackerman served as Senior FDA Counsel to the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee. In this role, he has been intimately involved in legislative initiatives, oversight hearings, and other Senate ...
August 25, 2016
Earlier this week, FDA released five chapters of a multi-chapter draft guidance on hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls for human food. The long-awaited draft guidance is intended to help industry comply with certain requirements of the agency’s final rule for preventive controls for human food (PC rule) under the Food Safety Modernization Act ...
August 24, 2016, Law360
August 17, 2016, Covington Alert
This morning, August 17, 2016, FDA published in the Federal Register its final rule on substances generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for their intended use in food. Coming nineteen years after the proposed rule, under which industry has effectively been operating for some time, the final rule mostly codifies the status quo. The final rule formalizes, through ...
August 15, 2016, Covington Alert
On August 11, 2016, FDA published its long-awaited revised draft guidance on Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues. Like the 2011 draft it replaces, the revised draft guidance is intended to help a dietary supplement company decide (1) whether a substance is a dietary ingredient; (2) when a new dietary ingredient (NDI) ...
July 18, 2016, Covington Alert
On July 14, 2016, FDA published its amended final regulations for registration of domestic and foreign food facilities under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Registration is required for such facilities that manufacture/process, pack, or hold food for human or animal consumption. The final rule codifies a number of provisions that were mandated by FSMA ...
July 14, 2016, Bloomberg BNA
Miriam Guggenheim is quoted in a BNA article regarding legislation passed by Congress creating a national standard for food makers to disclose genetically-modified ingredients. According to Guggenheim, while there is considerable will in the administration to resolve the GMO labeling issue, agency resources would also play a role in the rulemaking timeline. ...
June 30, 2016, Covington Alert
Last week, the UK voted to leave the European Union in an advisory referendum. The impact of Brexit on food and drink regulation in the medium-to-long term will very much depend on the form a post-Brexit UK will take, the relationship that the UK chooses to have with the EU, and indeed the relationship that the EU is willing to accept. That will not become clear ...
June 10, 2016, Law360
June 2, 2016, Covington Alert
On June 1, 2016, the FDA announced draft guidance on voluntary sodium reduction targets that could have a substantial effect on food manufacturers and restaurants. The Draft Guidance proposes short-term and long-term targets for various categories of commercially processed, packaged, and prepared foods, as well as recommended upper bounds for sodium in each food ...
May 31, 2016, Covington Alert
On May 27, 2016, FDA finalized its seventh and final food safety rule under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which will become new 21 C.F.R. Part 121. The Intentional Adulteration rule establishes requirements to help protect food against adulteration from acts intended to cause wide-scale harm to public health, including acts of terrorism. For the ...
May 25, 2016, Law360
Miriam Guggenheim is quoted in a Law360 article regarding the FDA’s new rule requiring companies to include information about added sugars on nutrition labels. According to Guggenheim, "There will be those who assert that FDA has not met its First Amendment burden to justify the compelled commercial speech." She continues, "A number of recent cases have ...
May 23, 2016, Covington Alert
On Friday, May 20, 2016, FDA issued two final rules to revise the nutrition labeling requirements for conventional foods and dietary supplements—the first major revisions to the nutrition labels since they were originally required over 20 years ago. Recognizing a shift in the average American’s consumption habits and understanding of the Nutrition Facts label, ...
May 16, 2016, Covington Alert
Last week, FDA finalized its guidance for industry about medical foods, which it issued in draft form in August 2013. This guidance incorporates most of the principles that FDA articulated in the 2013 draft guidance regarding the agency’s position on the definition of medical foods, the scope of lawful uses of medical foods, and other labeling and safety ...
April 7, 2016, Covington Alert
Yesterday, FDA published in the Federal Register its final rule establishing sanitary transportation requirements for both human and animal food. The rule is intended to ensure that food transportation practices do not create food safety risks. FDA provides a flexible, risk-based approach that largely aims to allow the transportation industry to continue to use ...
January/February 2016, Update
November 25, 2015, Covington Alert
November 17, 2015, Covington Alert
May 20, 2015, Covington E-Alert
May 22, 2014, InsideMedicalDevices Blog
April 28, 2014, Covington E-Alert
March 4, 2014, Covington E-Alert
February 21, 2014, Covington E-Alert
February 5, 2014, Covington E-Alert
January 16, 2014, Covington E-Alert
September 26, 2013, Covington E-Alert
September 24, 2013, Covington E-Alert
August 28, 2013, Covington E-Alert
August 19, 2013, Covington E-Alert
August 9, 2013, Covington E-Alert
August 8, 2013, Covington E-Alert
July 30, 2013, Covington E-Alert
June 25, 2013, Covington E-Alert
May 17, 2013, Covington E-Alert
March 25, 2013, Covington E-Alert
January 10, 2013, Covington E-Alert
October 22, 2012, Covington E-Alert
October 4, 2012, Covington E-Alert
September 27, 2012, Covington E-Alert
August 16, 2012, Covington E-Alert
June 29, 2012, Covington E-Alert
April 24, 2012, Covington E-Alert
October 24, 2011, Covington E-Alert
June 10, 2011
WASHINGTON, DC, June 10, 2011 — Covington & Burling LLP received 123 individual mentions and 45 practice mentions in Chambers USA 2011. The guidebook, which ranks lawyers by state and national practice area, is designed to identify the most skilled legal practitioners based on the qualities most valued by clients.
Here are the Covington lawyers and practices ...
May 25, 2011, Covington E-Alert
April 29, 2011, Covington E-Alert
April 6, 2011, Covington E-Alert
April 4, 2011, Covington E-Alert
February 2, 2011, Covington E-Alert
January 25, 2011, Covington E-Alert
January 3, 2011, Covington E-Alert
December 22, 2010, Covington E-Alert
December 9, 2010, Covington E-Alert
October 29, 2010, Covington E-Alert
October 25, 2010, Covington E-Alert
October 14, 2010, Covington E-Alert
September 22, 2010
August 25, 2010, Covington E-Alert
June 16, 2010, Covington E-Alert
June 10, 2010, Covington E-Alert
May 25, 2010, Covington E-Alert
May 13, 2010, Covington E-Alert
April 29, 2010, Covington E-Alert
April 22, 2010, Covington E-Alert
April 12, 2010, Covington E-Alert
March 23, 2010, Covington E-Alert
March 10, 2010, Covington E-Alert
December 16, 2009, Covington E-Alert
November 20, 2009, Covington E-Alert
September 15, 2009, Covington E-Alert
July 31, 2009, Covington E-Alert
July 9, 2009, Covington E-Alert
June 19, 2009, Covington E-Alert
March 30, 2009, Covington E-Alert
March 9, 2009, Covington E-Alert
March 6, 2009, Covington E-Alert
February 9, 2009, Covington E-Alert
February 5, 2009, Covington E-Alert
February 2, 2009, Covington Advisory
January 28, 2009, Covington E-Alert
January 26, 2009, Covington E-Alert
January 16, 2009, Covington E-Alert
January 9, 2009, Covington E-Alert
January 7, 2009, Covington E-Alert
December 16, 2008, Covington E-Alert
December 15, 2008, Covington E-Alert
November 14, 2008, Covington E-Alert
November 7, 2008, Covington E-Alert
September 17, 2008, Covington E-Alert
August 8, 2008, Covington E-Alert
August 1, 2008, Covington E-Alert
May 27, 2008, Covington E-Alert
April 25, 2008, Covington E-Alert
April 24, 2008, Covington E-Alert
January 17, 2008, Covington E-Alert
December 26, 2007, Covington E-Alert
December 7, 2007
WASHINGTON, DC, December 7, 2007 — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has affirmed the dismissal of a class-action lawsuit challenging the absence of warning labels on milk informing consumers of the purported risks of lactose intolerance. Covington & Burling LLP successfully represented the defendants, which included Giant of Maryland, Nestle ...
November 28, 2007, Covington E-Alert
November 26, 2007, Covington E-Alert
November 6, 2007, Covington E-Alert
September 21, 2007, Covington E-Alert
September 3, 2007, Covington E-Alert
May 31, 2007, Covington E-Alert
May 2, 2007, Covington E-Alert
April 17, 2007, Covington E-Alert
January 29, 2007, Covington E-Alert
December 14, 2006, Covington E-Alert
December 7, 2006, Covington E-Alert
November 10, 2006, Covington E-alert
August 31, 2006, Covington E-Alert
July 7, 2006, Covington E-Alert
March 7, 2006, Covington E-Alert
February 10, 2006, Covington E-Alert
December 19, 2005, Covington E-Alert