On July 22, Perkins Coie Partner Larry Reichman and Associate Tommy Tobin presented a CLE program entitled “Food and COVID-19: Regulatory Approaches to Secure the Food System During the Coronavirus Pandemic” to the Practising Law Institute (PLI). This One-Hour Briefing covered topics ranging from food safety to securing food work environments. The program emphasized the

On December 20, 2018, President Trump signed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (popularly known as the 2018 Farm Bill) into law.

  • Among the broad-ranging provisions included in the law, it legalizes the cultivation and sale of hemp at the federal level, effective January 1, 2019.
  • Hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) businesses have thrived in numerous

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is implementing changes to the Nutrition Facts Panel for food and beverage labels. Manufacturers are required to comply with the new requirements by January 1, 2020, although manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales have an additional year, until January 1, 2021. Key changes include the

About 17 months after announcing a proposed rule that would require listing the amount of “Added Sugar” in food products in the Nutrition Facts label, the FDA has proposed an amended rule that would also require listing the percentage daily value for added sugar.

Following consumer research and the issuance of additional scientific evidence establishing

In our previous look at the top concerns of online food retailers, we discussed the importance of identifying your role in the industry and key labeling issues. Applying the brick-and mortar food laws and rules to online businesses presents the cutting edge of food law and often requires the exercise of judgment to effectuate the policies underlying food law and to harmonize those with the law governing Internet sales. Here are a few more issues that Internet food retailers should ask themselves:

  1. How do you ensure food safety?

Food safety is an important issue for all aspects of your operation. It affects how you produce, receive, and store food products. As an online business, you won’t have customers taking custody at your premises. How do you ensure that food remains fresh, safe, and healthful throughout the delivery process? What are the best ways to work with delivery providers? And who regulates those operations?
Continue Reading Food Law + E-Commerce: Safety, Price and Other Top Issues for Online Food Retailers

Are you selling, or thinking about selling, food products on the Internet? The online sale of groceries alone is an $11 billion per year business in the U.S. alone. Add to that the online sale of prepared foods, and the number of businesses and revenue skyrockets. Most of the detailed laws and regulations governing the sale of food were developed over the past century based upon traditional brick-and-mortar stores, where food labels can be read in store aisles, products are weighed to order, and the general cleanliness of the operation is apparent to consumers and inspectors alike. Applying these laws and rules to online businesses presents the cutting edge of food law, and often requires the exercise of judgment to effectuate the policies underlying food law and to harmonize those with the law governing Internet sales.

Here are some of the top issues that online food retailers should ask themselves:

  1. What are my roles and responsibilities in the food business?

The application of many food laws and rules depends upon characterizing a company’s role. Food manufacturers and processors are easy to identify. What about others? Are you a food retailer, a delivery operation, or just a facilitator of transactions? A lot can depend on how these questions are answered. Do you need to register as a food facility under federal law, or can you claim an exemption? Do you need a food license under state law? Do you need to collect sales tax? What is your role in the event of a product recall?
Continue Reading Food Law + E-Commerce: Top Issues for Online Food Retailers

The Food and Drug Administration issued a stern warning letter to Kind, LLC on March 17, 2015 (which it made public on April 15), identifying a number of significant violations of federal food labeling regulations found both on the labels of Kind bars and on the company’s website.

Among the violations the FDA identified are the following:

  • Kind makes a number of “nutrient content claims” that do not comply with legal requirements. A nutrient content claim characterizes the level of a particular nutrient in a food. Some of the nutrient content claims the FDA criticized are:
  • use of the term “healthy” is a problem because several of the bars have more saturated fat than is permissible in connection with a “healthy” claim;
  • use of the symbol “+” in connection with claims regarding proteins and antioxidants fails to comply with the regulations because the labels do not identify the foods that the bars are being compared to when they claim to have a higher level of such nutrients;
  • use of the term “antioxidant-rich” is inappropriate because the product does not have a sufficient level of recognized antioxidant nutrients; and
  • claiming certain bars are a “good source of fiber” is not permissible because the labels do not adequately disclose that the food is also not low in total fat.
  • The Nutrition Facts statement for certain bars is inadequate because:
  • it fails to disclose levels of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which is required because the labels included the claim “no trans fat”;
  • it fails to include the percent daily value for protein, which is required because the label includes a nutrient content claim for protein.
  • The labels fail to correctly identify the name and place of business of the manufacturer.

Continue Reading Bar Makers Beware: What the KIND Warning Means for Food Manufacturers

On February 27, 2014, the FDA proposed to update the Nutrition Facts panel on packaged foods labels in a number of ways.  Some of the key proposed changes are:

  • Revising the format to emphasize total calories, serving sizes and Percent Daily Value;
  • Updating serving sizes to more accurately reflect the amounts people currently eat and