On December 1, 2017, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS or the agency) issued its Fiscal Year 2018 Annual Plan.  The Annual Plan, which is directly aligned with the agency’s 2017 – 2021 Strategic Plan, outlines the ways FSIS plans to achieve its strategic goals over the next fiscal year. It serves as an operational guide for FSIS, where the agency explains the progression of activities from the key milestones the agency achieved in FY 2017, outlines what it plans to achieve in FY 2018 and why, and describes how it will assess progress by using Strategic and Annual Plan measures and targets.

Overall, the agency anticipates focusing on prevention of product contamination and foodborne illness, modernizing systems and approaches, and streamlining to enhance business. Continuing priorities for FY 2018 include further implementation of the New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS) and Siluriformes fish inspection, effectively using Public Health Risk Evaluations (PHREs) and pathogen reduction performance standards for Salmonella and Campylobacter in poultry, and modernizing swine and egg products inspection systems. The agency plans to continue increasing use of whole genome sequencing, further develop key informational tools and resources for inspection personnel, and work with public health partners to prevent Listeria monocytogenes in retail  delicatessens. The agency will also encourage industry continued adoption of food defense and humane handling practices, and consumer adoption of safe food-handling practices.

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Photo of Gary Kushner Gary Kushner

Partner, Washington, DC

Gary Jay Kushner knows the food industry inside and out as he has been a part of it for almost 40 years. His clients are some of the largest food corporations in the world as well as their trade associations. Because of his extensive exposure to the industry at all levels, Gary approaches his clients’ challenges from the perspective of a food industry executive.
Gary has participated in the development of virtually every law and regulation affecting the food industry in the last four decades. Gary analyzes legislation considered by the U.S. Congress and state legislatures and regulations proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, and other federal and state government agencies, and evaluates their impact on the food industry from farm to table. His insight allows him to anticipate how these initiatives might change the way his clients do business so they can plan most effectively.

Gary also helps companies address regulatory compliance issues, advising them on labeling, advertising, inspection, and representing them in enforcement proceedings before government agencies and the courts.

Previously, Gary served as vice president and general counsel for the American Meat Institute where he directed the organization’s legal, regulatory, and legislative activities. He began his food industry career as staff counsel for Scientific Affairs for the Grocery Manufacturers of America, and began his legal career as law clerk to the Honorable John R. Hess in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia.

Photo of Brian Eyink Brian Eyink

Counsel, Washington, DC

Drawing on experience throughout the supply chain — from animal production to food processing to distribution and retail sale — Brian Eyink brings vast and cross-cutting industry knowledge to help clients find practical solutions to regulatory problems. Brian is particularly sensitive to risk management issues as companies adapt to a regulatory and political environment increasingly focused on inspections, enforcement, and investigations.

Brian helps food and agriculture companies navigate increasingly complex and high-stakes federal and state regulatory issues. He draws on deep experience with the USDA, FDA, and FTC, as well as state, local, and self-regulatory bodies, litigation, and acquisitions to solve clients’ regulatory and business problems. Brian advises clients on the full scope of regulatory issues facing the food and agriculture sectors, ranging from USDA and FDA enforcement actions and federal investigations to regulatory compliance, import and export issues, litigation support, comment preparation, legislative drafting, policy development, trade association governance, advertising disputes, and labeling issues.

Brian also represents food and agriculture trade associations, advising on issues including general counseling and governance, influencing policy and public perspective, and implementation of industry initiatives.

Before joining Hogan Lovells, Brian served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Gerald Bard Tjoflat of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. While in law school, he served as an executive editor of the Duke Law Journal.

Photo of Christine Forgues Christine Forgues

Associate, Washington, DC

Chris Forgues provides business-oriented legal and scientific solutions to food and agriculture companies and trade associations.
She advises clients on state and federal regulatory issues that arise throughout the entire food supply chain and production line, ranging from USDA and FDA enforcement actions and federal investigations to regulatory compliance, import and export issues, litigation support, comment preparation, advertising disputes, and labeling issues.

Chris’s background in life science (chemistry and pharmacology) assists her in her science-based food law practice. Chris’s unique educational background and regulatory scientist experience provides valuable context to complex scientific issues as they relate to the governing regulatory requirements.

When she joined Hogan Lovells, Chris brought with her more than nine years of regulatory consulting experience. A part-time student by night and a regulatory scientist by day, Chris worked throughout law school at a firm in Washington, D.C., focusing on product review, development, and post-marketing in the life sciences sphere, with experience handling matters under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the National Advertising Division (NAD), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), as well as state regulatory bodies.