June 3, 2015

Navigating the Emerging Regulatory and Litigation Challenges to the Food Industry


In an atmosphere of aggressive challenges from consumer advocates, state attorneys general and the plaintiffs' class action bar, manufacturers of foods, beverages and dietary supplements face an often confusing and inconsistent body of regulations and common law requirements. These can have diverse consequences, depending on subtle distinctions in how a product is labeled or marketed. In many instances, such as when defining whether a manufacturer can claim that a product is "natural," the FDA has declined to provide any meaningful guidance. But even when the FDA does attempt to provide regulatory input, its "guidance" often adds confusion and the potential for missteps by those who strive to comply.

This report seeks to add clarity to the legal ambiguity in the Food Industry, addressing areas in which we see risk potential for manufacturers of foods, beverages and supplements. Some questions it attempts to answer include:

  • What are the distinctions between beverages and supplements and the consequences associated with each?
  • What are "added sugars" as opposed to naturally occurring sweeteners?
  • What considerations should be made in deciding how and when to comply with FDA's new guidelines on reducing sodium content?

Our aim in working with members of the food industry is the same one as for manufacturers in all industries: to understand the client's business and challenges, find creative and efficient approaches to problems, and provide value in order to mitigate future risk and maximize business opportunities.

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