Producers / Manufacturers

Farmers, growers, ranchers, fisheries, manufacturers and importers represent the top of America’s food chain. Producers and suppliers have unique licensure and regulatory compliance needs.

From the established, multi-national agro-industry producers, to the newest generation of family-owned local organic farmers, our Food Law Team helps suppliers maintain their licensure requirements, meet their compliance responsibilities, and achieve their business objectives. We combine the talents and capabilities of experienced attorneys, former federal and state industry regulators, and skilled licensing specialists to provide the broadest range of support services to suppliers.

The challenges facing food suppliers are unlimited. Whether navigating the sale and shipment of your products into the United States or across state lines, the unwinding of an existing distribution relationship, or the recall of a product, our Food Law Team has skilled and experienced professionals to protect your interests and secure your objectives.

Examples of how we can help include:

  • Start-Up

    We have extensive experience working with new entrants to the food industry, as well as with experienced players who are bringing new products and/or business concepts to market. We provide guidance and assistance for Start-Up issues ranging from equipment procurement and capitalization to market penetration and mid-long term planning.

  • Licensure and Government Notifications

    We handle food producer’s licensure needs at the federal and state levels for locations throughout America. We also handle FDA Bioterrorism-notification requirements and Customs requirements for importers. Additionally, we work with clients to secure all required operating and collateral licenses associated with their businesses, including local health, safety and occupational permits.

  • Brand Development

    We understand that a brand is more than a label. From formulation through packaging, we assist clients with the creation of their new food products to assure compliance and enhance the prospects for market success. Our regulatory guidance for brand development encompasses compliance with federal product formulation and labeling requirements, as well as state brand registrations and practical, experience-based input on brand development. 

  • Contracts

    Preparation and negotiation of key contracts is vital to success in the food industry. Our services in this area include drafting private label production contracts, import agreements, ingredient/commodity supply contracts, processing and distribution agreements with licensed processors and wholesalers, etc.

  • Records

    Because it is a regulated industry, food suppliers must produce and maintain records that are accurate and complete. Suppliers are obligated to meet their federal and state record-keeping responsibilities; failure to do so can jeopardize a supplier’s licensure, which directly impacts the ability to remain in business. We provide comprehensive assistance with mandatory record-keeping responsibilities.

  • Marketing

    In today’s world, with the unprecedented proliferation of brands and industry members, the ability to distinguish a particular supplier or a specific brand is fundamental to success. While advancing technology presents extraordinary new opportunities for marketing and promotion, the regulatory restrictions applicable to a fair market place generally, and the food industry in particular, produce concomitant compliance risks. Our Food Law Team provides specific advice regarding marketing, advertising and promotional activities, including issues relating to social media marketing, stealth and guerilla marketing, and the tensions that often arise between protected commercial speech that may generate claims of consumer confusion based on allegedly unfair or misleading content.

  • Compliance, Product Withdrawals and Recalls

    Unlike most other consumer products, food presents industry members with huge compliance challenges because of variances among state laws and regulations. For interested parties with no prior experience in the food industry – as is often the case with Merger and Acquisition activity involving private investment funds or financial institutions for whom commercializing food is not a primary endeavor – food safety and trade practice laws can be especially bewildering to comprehend, and difficult to follow.  Equally challenging are the myriad administrative, logistical and public relations requirements needed to effectively withdraw or recall a product from the marketplace. We counsel clients on trade practice and compliance issues at the federal and state levels on matters ranging from M&A guidelines and product recalls to distributor and retailer relations. 

  • Government and Public Relations

    Legislative change is rarely easy, but sometimes it is vital to development and growth. We have proven experience in securing needed legislative changes for clients, as recently demonstrated in our successful campaign for a new Florida law allowing craft distillers to sell directly to consumers under set circumstances. We work with food suppliers to design and implement strategic public relations and legislative lobbying campaigns, including the drafting of proposed legislation and regulatory rulemaking. 

  • Enforcement

    In a regulated industry, the risks of regulatory enforcement always are substantial. Whether in the form of an audit, subpoena for records, or institution of formal administrative proceedings, our Food Law Team’s professionals are experienced at protecting clients’ rights and defending their interests against administrative actions at the federal or state levels.

  • Dispute Resolution

    Disputes can arise from any number of sources: government agencies, members of the public, and even other food industry members. Whether those disputes ripen into litigation often depends on the initial actions and reactions of the relevant parties. Our experience proves that skilled communication and strategic planning often can avert litigation, saving all parties time, effort and expense. Our unique combination of lawyers and former regulators allows us to offer food industry clients unparalleled mediation capabilities that can identify key issues, overcome inter-company obstacles and resolve disputes before control is ceded from the parties to the courts. When mediation is not an option, our trial lawyers have decades of experience with litigation and arbitration, including intellectual property protection, fraudulent or misleading marketing claims and product liability matters. 

  • Education and Training

    We use the experience and knowledge of our Food Law Team’s attorneys and former regulators to develop tailored education and training programs that emphasize best practices while encouraging compliance. Whether in the format of a live presentation before an in-house classroom audience, or a company-wide online webinar, we can devise programs that add value by increasing employee education about food industry trade practice DOs and DON’Ts while reducing both compliance and liability risks.

  • Research and Insights

    Our attorneys and former regulators stay current on industry developments, and work to identify developing trends ahead of the market curve. That prowess can be invaluable for suppliers who seek a competitive and strategic edge. We offer such clients leading-edge industry research and reports that provide critical information and insights needed to make important mid-and long-range business decisions. Our Team brings complex information together and makes it understandable so our clients can stay ahead of emerging trends.