While manufacturers and suppliers produce the food, packers and processors of the food industry undertake a wide range of functions to convert the raw materials into processed goods for distribution and retail sale. Processor functions can entail washing, sorting, cutting, grinding, slicing, cooking and refrigeration, and packaging. Some processors even alter the atmospheres within food packages, or apply federally regulated chemical food additives as a method of food preservation. Food processing operations now being conducted or proposed include cook-chill; vacuum packaging; sous vide; smoking and curing; brewing, processing, and bottling alcohol beverages, carbonated beverages, or drinking water; and custom processing of animals.
For food processors, basic needs include:
- Product labeling, advertising and other promotional materials.
- The regulatory scheme affecting or governing such products, including mandatory and voluntary submissions (FDA-required petitions and notifications) and food facility registration, and the "new" FDA reporting requirements (through RFR).
- Import and export issues, including detentions by Customs and Border Patrol.
- Recall or market withdrawal issues, including the reportable food registry and related planning, policies and audit procedures.
- Effective crisis management, including misbranding lawsuits, government enforcement actions (including press releases and warning letters), stop-sale orders and recall or market withdrawal situations.
- The business of food – documenting and negotiating business relationships and other commercial arrangements, structuring a distribution system and obtaining liability protection throughout the supply and distribution chain
These are just some of the challenges facing food processors. Whether navigating the sale and shipment of your products across state lines, the unwinding of an existing distribution relationship, or the recall of products from the marketplace, our Food Law Team has skilled and experienced professionals to protect your interests and secure your objectives.
From the established multi-national processors, to the newest generation of start-up craft artisans, our Food Law Team helps processors 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. Examples of how we can help include: