Jump to Content
Photo of Food & Beverage
Food & Beverage

Legal issues are wide-ranging for our clients in the food and beverage business – from safety regulations, bioterrorism, nutrition, to labeling, nanotech, price regulations, and product recalls, our attorneys recognize that these issues are business challenges unique to those in this evolving industry.

The attorneys in the Hodgson Russ Food & Beverage Practice provide legal advice and counsel on a full spectrum of issues facing companies that produce, distribute or sell food and beverages, and also the businesses that deal with them. We represent manufacturers, farmers, packers, warehouses, distributors, brokers, wholesalers and retailers, in structuring their organization, protecting property rights associated with their products, protecting their technologies and navigating regulatory procedures. We also assist agribusiness, importers/exporters, food and beverage organizations, trade organizations and equipment manufacturers.

Business Planning

From choice of entity structures to exit strategies, we assist at every stage of our client’s business. Our clients range from global corporations to small family businesses, including numerous that operate in the food and beverage industries. Additional services include:

  • Commercial transactions
  • Farm business/cooperative formation and governance
  • Financing and credit
  • Bankruptcy

We also help our clients with the ever-evolving area of franchising and distribution laws, visit our Franchise and Distribution Practice to learn more. To learn more about how we assist those in the restaurant/hospitality industry, please visit our Hotel, Hospitality & Lodging Practice.

Tax, Trusts & Estates

Our attorneys frequently assist our food and beverage industry clients with federal, international, state, and local business tax planning, as well as succession planning involving trusts and estates. In fact, Hodgson Russ was among the first law firms to implement estate planning strategies involving the use of family limited partnerships and related entities.

Product Development & Litigation

We represent businesses in disputed matters involving a full spectrum of issues, including breach of contract, products liability, trade secrets, toxic tort, environmental, and disputes arising under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA). We represent clients before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the United State Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and state agencies in all phases of the product development cycle.

Brand Name Identification & Intellectual Property Protection

Our Intellectual Property Practice will provide you with trademark and copyright services to protect your brand. We develop strategies to produce a strategic approach to the acquisition, maintenance, and defense of your brand and protection of trade secrets. We file and prosecute trademark and copyright registrations before the U.S. Copyright Office and the USPTO. We also help protect food processing technology with utility patents and protect container or packaging designs with design patents. We enforce and defend intellectual property rights and infringement claims in state and federal courts. We have also worked on these issues with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency. Please visit our Intellectual Property Practice, Design Protection & Design Patents Practice and Trademark & Domain Name Practice pages to learn more.

Food & Beverage Labeling, Packaging

Our attorneys will review your labeling and packaging to make sure that you are complying with state and federal regulations, including USDA and FTC requirements. We are often called upon to prosecute or defend trademark claims arising under the Lanham act or state laws, and frequently assist with cease and desist letters. We also advise on compliance with special labeling rules for organic and natural foods.

Promotion, Advertising, E-Commerce & Sweepstakes

The attorneys in our Food & Beverage Practice will advise you on Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and FDA product advertising and promotion requirements, including local requirements for sweepstakes and contests. We will assist you in avoiding the traps of false and deceptive advertising and endorser liability. We can also review your web activities for data privacy and security.

Environmental Law & Regulations

We work with our clients to comply with the federal Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, as well as state and local laws and regulations for the manufacture and distribution of food and beverages. We represent food and beverage businesses before the FDA and the USDA as well as the local regulators in obtaining needed permits and licenses.

Labor & Immigration

Food and beverage businesses can require varying levels of employees at specific times of the year, raising unique questions. Our attorneys represent farms and other food and beverage-related industry clients when dealing with labor and employment-related laws and regulations, including the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), state workers’ compensation laws and wage and hour laws.

In addition, our Immigration Practice attorneys can assist with the increasingly complex area of immigration requirements and related issues.

Food Safety & Product Recalls

Nothing is more important than your reputation for distributing safe and nutritious products. We represent food and beverage businesses when navigating United States and local laws and regulations involving food safety. Our attorneys will help you address issues involving consumer allergies, gaining approval of new food and beverage ingredients, and reviewing new perspectives on existing ingredients.

In the unlikely event that your product faces a recall, we will assist you in all stages of the recall process, including notifying regulators, assisting with the legal requirements of public disclosure, crafting legal notices, working with insurance carriers, distributors, wholesalers and your customers.

Exports/International Trade Agreements

We assist food and beverage businesses with free trade agreement related compliance matters, dealing with issues related to:

  • General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
  • Global Food Safety Initiative Certification
  • World Trade Organization Dispute Resolution System
  • NAFTA Dispute Resolution System
  • International Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • U.S. Regional and Bilateral Trade Agreements
  • U.S. International Trade Commission
  • Foreign Agricultural Service

To learn more about our other relevant cross-border capabilities, please visit the following:

Insurance Coverage

Our Torts, Insurance & Products Liability Practice levels the playing field for policy holders.