Agricultural Regulatory and Compliance
Our regulatory attorneys possess significant experience in helping clients navigate regulatory concerns and related disputes, litigation and investigations.
We regularly counsel clients on how to comply with and litigate alleged violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA), various laws enforced by FDA, USDA, DOJ, SEC and state regulators, laws relating to food safety and the import and export of food ingredients and food products, as well as actions brought under state consumer protection and safety statutes. We also assist clients facing recalls and market withdrawals, analyze regulations, lobby for regulatory changes and handle internal and governmental investigations of FDA, USDA, DOJ, SEC and state regulators. We also have significant experience with regulatory actions involving water rights.
Our experience extends to assisting clients with compliance and other proactive advice in designing labels, packaging and marketing materials that provide protection for the client’s intellectual property and comply with USDA and FDA labeling regulations, and we have defended clients facing challenges to their labels from the FDA or USDA, and defended clients facing challenges related to advertising and labeling claims before both state and federal agencies as well as self‑regulatory groups such as the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. In addition, we represent clients in class actions and other disputes with private parties and competitors.
Issues arising in the regulatory arena—particularly those involving imports and exports, inspections, recalls and market withdrawals, and pricing and competition issues—have the potential to result in litigation or other governmental enforcement actions. By working closely with clients from the earliest stages of interactions with regulators and utilizing the firm’s food products trial team’s experience, we facilitate resolutions that minimize business disruption, while minimizing associated fees and costs. We also recognize the potential collateral consequences that flow from investigations, including reputational damage to the company, its products and relationships with government regulators.
We focus on proactive compliance advice on the front-end, however have deep experience in handling litigation or investigations brought under FDA and USDA statutes and regulations. We represent clients in food recalls, class actions brought under the PSA, investigations initiated under various regulatory provisions and all manner of civil, criminal and administrative litigation with governmental and private parties.
We also have extensive experience in assisting clients in addressing issues that arise under the farm bill. The 2018 farm bill, known as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, was signed into law in December, 2018. The 2018 bill provides some modest improvements in the farm safety net, while relaxing certain farm subsidy rules. A key provision in the 2018 farm bill was the legalization of domestic hemp, which we expect to become a considerable cash crop in the coming years in various places in the United States. The bill also includes a modest increase in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).