Introduction to Food Law and Hot Topics

Webinar Date: 
April 12, 2016

Deceptive food marketing has become one of the most fertile areas for litigation. Everyone needs to eat and processed foods marketers are continuously looking for new ways to distinguish their products from their competitors. Oftentimes, the buzzwords that manufacturers use on product labels and ads reflect the latest hype associated with the health benefits of particular ingredients or nutrients, e.g., kale, whole grain, and protein. But in many cases, the characterizing ingredients are present in minuscule amounts and any health benefits are offset by excessive amounts of added sugar or sodium. This webinar is designed to provide you with a brief introduction to food law and will explore some key areas of litigation.

Later in the spring, there will be another webinar that will dive into the nuts and bolts of trying these cases.

What You Will Learn:

•    The jurisdictional boundaries between the Food and Drug Administration, the US Department of Agriculture, and the Federal Trade Commission
•    The regulatory framework for required label information and permissible claims
•    Hot topics for litigation


Ilene Ringel Heller has more than twenty-five years of experience as a food and drug attorney. For the past five years, she has served as a regulatory consultant on food labeling issues, with an emphasis on consumer protection litigation involving deceptive food claims. During her fourteen years at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) as a Senior Staff Attorney and ultimately Associate Director of Legal Affairs, Ms. Heller filed numerous complaints and petitions with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), drafted legal briefs, and co-authored several in-depth reports, including Food Labeling Chaos:  The Case for Reform. Following the release of that report, the FDA issued a record number of enforcement actions against food companies. The report also influenced proposed revisions to the Nutrition Facts Panel. Prior to joining CSPI, Ms. Heller practiced food and drug law at Keller and Heckman and Arnold & Porter. She has been a speaker at various food law conferences, including those sponsored by the Food and Drug Law Institute (FDLI), and served for four years on the Editorial Board of the Food and Drug Law Journal. Ms. Heller graduated cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center and is a member of the District of Columbia bar.

Maia Kats is the Litigation Director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest.   As CSPI Litigation Director, she focuses on consumer class actions in the food and supplements context.  Ms. Kats recently resolved class litigation against Coca-Cola for its marketing of Vitaminwater, and Campbell Soup Company for its labeling of infant and toddler foods.

Tracy Rezvani is a Shareholder of Rezvani Volin P.C. in Washington D.C. She is the District of Columbia co-chair for NACA. Over the last twenty years, she has represented consumers in food-based class actions and representational litigation focused on false “all natural” claims, false “No GMO” claims, and misleading sodium or whole grain claims.


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