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Food, Beverage and Tobacco

The Product Liability lawyers at DLA Piper represent a broad range of food, beverage and tobacco companies in dispute resolution and regulatory compliance. Our food, beverage and tobacco lawyers advise on the requirements of regulatory authorities, implementation of directives at local markets and compliance in the context of multi-market, multi-product operations. We formulate compliance programs that cover key requirements and risks, while promoting consistency across business activities and geographic regions.

Our advice extends throughout product development and into the postmarketing period, addressing strategy and compliance in areas including marketing applications; labeling, promotion and advertising;quality regulations; registration and listing; import/export requirements; product recalls, withdrawals and field corrections; facilities inspections; government and internal investigations; indemnity agreements with suppliers; and insurance issues.

In the US, we maintain an active federal regulatory practice counseling a broad range of companies that import, manufacture, process, distribute and/or market FDA-regulated products, including foods, food additives, dietary supplements, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, animal drugs, biologics and cosmetics. We represent clients on a wide variety of matters before FDA and USDA and in state and federal courts on FDA-related matters.

Recent examples of work done for food, beverage and tobacco clients include:

  • Representing a global food company in federal and state class actions in several jurisdictions
    alleging consumer fraud, false advertising, fraud and warranty claims based on labeling and
    marketing of one of our client’s best-known brands.

  • Defending a global tobacco company in numerous ongoing cases in state and federal court in Florida.

  • Representing one of the premier Cape wine estates in South Africa in connection with a substantial damages claim. Due to the inadvertent use of corks supplied by a major European manufacturer, but tainted with a toxic chemical, an entire red-wine vintage became contaminated and could not be sold. The case necessitated a detailed analysis of the production and manufacturing process and instruction of experts.

  • Representing frozen food producers challenged by UK regulatory authorities regarding the water content of frozen scampi and prawns. The case necessitated a detailed analysis of the production and manufacturing process, the instruction of experts and, ultimately, the withdrawal of criminal proceedings.

  • Representing a manufacturer in coordinated, industry-wide class action litigation in numerous state and federal courts where the plaintiffs alleged consumer fraud, false advertising and warranty claims based on the alleged harmful interaction of product ingredients. After protracted negotiations, our client achieved positive settlement and dismissal from all cases.

  • Defending a substantial producer of food dips in Australia against allegations of a third party’s tainting of the product with a defective mixing agent. DLA Piper advised the manufacturer through a countrywide recall and extricated the client from all liability claims.

  • Representing a major supermarket chain in Hong Kong which was being prosecuted by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department regarding allegations of food mislabeling.

  • Representing German national authorities in a governmental liability case concerning imported pork and a claim for damages of nearly € 145 million.

  • Representing a large spice company in a label review and compliance assessment concerning food products imported into the EU for direct sale in the jurisdiction of entry or imported for subsequent sale.

  • Representing a pet food manufacturer in litigation regarding food allegedly contaminated with melamine.

  • Representing manufacturers of food contact substances and indirect food additives on labeling and safety compliance issues.

  • Representing a producer of baked and packaged cookies regarding labeling requirements for a low-calorie diet regime.

  • Representing a franchise food operator regarding advertising and labeling claims for use of Black Angus beef.

  • Defending a Swiss manufacturer of high-quality natural food additives in a series of legal disputes with German producers concerning damage claims arising out of the alleged contamination of food in disputes involving questions of German, Swiss and EU food law.

  • Representing the UK’s largest importer of fish and fish products from Asia in questions surrounding the labeling of a fish product and a related criminal investigation.

  • Representing a leading European manufacturer of dessert foods in an investigation into the legality of its products, including advice on amended labeling. No formal action followed.

  • Defending a business operating a chain of restaurants against an attempt by a local authority to impose a food hygiene requirement that would not significantly improve the client’s excellent hygiene systems, but would, if subsequently imposed as a requirement by other authorities throughout the country, have required a significant reconfiguration of many of the clients’ premises.

  • Advising US tobacco companies in regulation and distribution of tobacco products in Germany, the UK and other European countries.

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Note past results are not guarantees of future results. Each matter is individual and will be decided on its own facts.