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.  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) and the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA). Our clients also benefit from the expertise and insights of numerous former high-ranking FDA and FTC officials, including two former Chief Counsels of the FDA and the former Principal Deputy General Counsel and Acting General Counsel of the FTC.

Covington provides a full range of services to assist clients in all aspects of food and beverage product development, safety, labeling, and promotion.  Our clients include major food trade associations as well as leading food and beverage companies, enabling us to understand the wide spectrum of issues of interest or concern to industry members and to help influence regulatory and legislative policy from a broad industry platform.

We advise our clients not only with respect to compliance with the legal requirements of the FDA, FTC, USDA, and applicable state and local laws, but also in a manner that minimizes the risk of private litigation. 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.

Representative Matters

Product Safety

  • Advised clients about the implications of the FSMA, including its effect on FDA’s current inspection and enforcement activities.
  • Counseled numerous clients through recalls and market withdrawals, including on a global scale, to minimize business disruption, cost, and damage to brands.
  • Advised clients on whether reports to FDA’s Reportable Food Registry are required in particular circumstances.
  • Assisted food and medical food marketers in establishing the generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status of ingredients in their products.
  • 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.


  • Law360, Life Sciences Group of the Year (2014, 2013 and 2012)
  • Chambers Global (2015)
    • Life Sciences, Global-wide
    • Life Sciences, Europe-wide
  • Chambers USA (2015)
    • Food & Beverages, Regulatory & Litigation, Nationwide
    • Life Sciences, Nationwide
    • Product Liability & Mass Torts, Nationwide
    • Healthcare, Pharmaceutical/Medical Products Regulatory, DC
    • Life Sciences, CA 
  • Chambers UK (2015)
    • Life Sciences, UK-wide
    • Life Sciences, Regulatory, UK-wide
    • Life Sciences, Transactional, UK-wide
    • Product Liability, Food, UK-wide
    • Product Liability, Mainly Defendant, UK-wide
  • Chambers Asia (2015)
    • Life Sciences (International Firms), China
  • Chambers Europe (2015)
    • Life Sciences, Europe-wide
    • Regulatory, Agro/Food, Europe-wide
    • Regulatory, Life Sciences/Pharma, Europe-wide
  • Legal 500 US (2015)
    • Healthcare – Life Sciences
    • Product Liability and Mass Tort Defense - Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices
  • Legal 500 UK (2014)
    • Technology, media and telecoms - Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
    • Insurance: Product Liability – Defendant
  • Legal 500 EMEA (2015)
    • Belgium: EU Regulatory – Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
    • Belgium - Healthcare & Life Sciences
  • LMG Life Sciences (2014)
    • Life Cycle Firm
    • Highly Recommended: Regulatory, FDA (Pharmaceutical)
    • Highly Recommended: Regulatory, Healthcare, Pricing & Reimbursement
    • Highly Recommended: Finance & Transactional, Corporate
    • Highly Recommended: Finance & Transactional, Licensing & Collaboration (Non-University)
    • Highly Recommended: Finance & Transactional, Mega-Mergers
    • Recommended: Regulatory, FDA (Medical Devices)
  • 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
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