The Proposition 65 Interim BPA warning regulation that allows companies to rely on a generic warning posted in California retail establishments will sunset on December 30, 2017. Food and beverage companies that have BPA containing packages in California and that have been relying on the interim BPA warning regulation for compliance should reassess their Proposition 65 warning obligations prior to December 31, 2017.

By way of brief background, effective May 11, 2016, OEHHA started requiring warnings for consumer products containing BPA under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (also known as Proposition 65 or Prop 65). Due to the high percentage of the canned and bottled food and beverages that were packaged with BPA-containing materials in California at that time, OEHHA adopted an emergency regulation that allowed the temporary use of a standard point-of-sale warning message (e.g., posting of warnings at checkout stands in retail stores) for BPA. In July 2016, OEHHA proposed an interim rule that essentially extended the temporary regulation through December 30, 2017. The interim regulation also required food companies that exercised this option to provide OEHHA with a list of all food products in which BPA was intentionally used in the manufacture of the can lining or jar or bottle seals.

As of today, there are a total of over 23,000 entries of canned or bottled food products listed in the publicly-accessible OEHHA database for products packaged with BPA-containing materials. The sheer number of listed products in the database suggests that many food and beverage companies have been relying on the interim BPA warning regulation for compliance. On December 31, 2017, those food and beverage companies with products listed in the OEHHA database that have not phased out the use of BPA in their packaging should assess their options for compliance with Proposition 65. Companies should consult with legal counsel when assessing whether they will have an obligation to provide a Prop 65 warning and if so, the type of warning that should be required.

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Photo of Martin Hahn Martin Hahn

Partner, Washington, DC

Martin Hahn uses his background in food technology and his comprehensive understanding of the laws governing the food industry to navigate clients through the myriad regulatory and business issues impacting the industry from farm to table. He recognizes the demands placed on his clients and finds innovative and creative solutions, particularly when responding to observations raised by regulators  during inspections. Whether the issue involves obtaining the authorization of a new food or dietary ingredient, complying with manufacturing requirements, labeling or advertising, product recalls, or enforcement, Martin serves as an effective advisor and advocate.

Martin’s career has touched on almost every issue impacting the food industry. He has a comprehensive understanding of the laws affecting the labeling and advertising of foods, dietary supplements, infant formulas, medical foods, and foods for special dietary use. He helps clients anticipate new trends and develop the data that is needed to distinguish their products from others on the market. With his understanding of science and technology in the food industry, Martin provides assistance in obtaining regulatory authorizations to market new food ingredients, food packaging materials, and dietary ingredients. He also assists clients in responding to proposed regulations and draft guidance, as well as, tracks and keeps his clients apprised of the latest trends in class action law suits and helps clients anticipate new regulatory initiatives.

Martin grew up on a farm and worked in food processing plants before going to law school. His hands-on experience in the field and degree in food technology allow him to better understand the challenges his clients face in complying with the laws impacting food manufacturing. He understands Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) and the regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Photo of Xin Tao Xin Tao

Senior Associate, Washington, DC

With a working knowledge of regulatory requirements and a strong understanding of life science, Xin Tao works closely with clients in the food and drug industry to navigate the evolving federal and state regulatory environments and develop innovative regulatory strategies to commercialize products made with emerging technologies.  Xin’s background in life science (biochemistry and biophysics) assists him in his science-based food and drug law practices. Xin advises clients on food and drug law with a particular focus on novel food and dietary ingredients, biotechnology, FDA cGMP compliance, ingredient labeling, and California’s Proposition 65.  Xin’s unique ability in understanding and interpreting the complex scientific issues as they relate to the governing regulatory requirements helps clients with all phases of the product development, manufacturing, and marketing.  He is also increasingly expanding his expertise of USDA’s organic regulatory regime as it pertains to his clients.

Xin has helped numerous food, dietary supplement, and pharmaceutical companies evaluate the need for marketing approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He also pursues clearance or pre-market approval (e.g., food additive petition, GRAS notice, NDI notification) when necessary and responds to FDA enforcement activities including Warning Letters and Import Alerts. Xin has advised numerous companies on issues relating to the advertising and promoting of products including the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s claim substantiation standards . Xin also has vast experience with FDA and USDA due diligence investigations for companies subject to takeover or merger activity.

Xin is very actively involved in a number of organizations that serve Chinese legal and life science professionals in the Washington region, including the Sino-American Pharmaceutical Professionals Association and Washington DC Chinese Legal Association.  Xin is a frequent speaker and contributor to industry publications both in the U.S. and China.  He is adept at assisting both Chinese food and drug companies doing business in the U.S. and U.S. clients doing business in China.

During law school, Xin worked as a regulatory food scientist and also served as an executive editor of the Georgetown Environmental Law Review.