The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Bureau of Consumer Protection is where the action is when it comes to identifying current and future trends related to consumer protection.  Bureau actions are closely watched to identify enforcement priorities and issuance of key guidance on how the FTC contemplates exercising its authority in key areas, such as social media.  Actions the FTC takes, or elects not to take, provide critical information to marketers committed to legal compliance in a way that does not hamper appropriate business objectives.  The primary protector of consumers against fraud, deceptive advertising, and other practices that prey on unsuspecting consumers has recently updated its previous guidance on the use of endorsements and has taken enforcement action related to endorsements and several other focus areas.  This article touches on a range of topics and is intended as a quick reference guide to recent developments with an eye on what lies ahead.

Click here to read the update.

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Photo of Steve Steinborn Steve Steinborn

Partner, Washington, DC

Steven Steinborn literally wrote the book on food labeling as a principal author of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) labeling guide. On top of that, he offers clients 28 years of experience in guiding informed business decisions, taking into account food laws and other regulations, as well as the environment in which companies operate. Representing food processors, restaurant chains, foodservice operators, ingredient suppliers, and trade associations, Steven focuses on advertising, labeling, and food safety. He is also a strong advocate in enforcement matters brought by the Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the USDA, and state regulators as well.

From small start-ups to established international brands, Steven understands the dynamics of the food industry. He brings this knowledge to bear on cutting-edge issues ranging from claim substantiation to potential food safety situations. He is also regularly consulted in bringing and defending competitor challenges, and represents companies before the Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Division. Keenly aware of the current litigation climate, Steven works closely with marketers in exploring all avenues to reach important business objectives.

Beyond the food industry, Steven routinely advises consumer product companies on reporting and potential recall situations arising under the jurisdiction of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. His practice covers a diverse range of industries, including children’s toys, household appliances, infant products, gas grills, furnaces, consumer electronics, computers, printers, handheld devices, and child-resistant packaging.

Steven is a frequent speaker on innovation and legal compliance and has authored numerous articles on a range of subjects, from the latest developments in the regulation of genetically engineered foods to important developments that impact food advertising.

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. 

Photo of Leigh Barcham Leigh Barcham

Associate, Washington, DC

Leigh Barcham provides business-oriented legal and policy solutions to food and agriculture companies and trade associations. She advises clients on state and federal regulatory issues that may arise throughout the entire food production line from farm to table. Leigh also guides clients in consumer products industries as they navigate federal advertising laws and regulations.
When she joined Hogan Lovells, Leigh brought with her more than five years of public policy experience. A part-time student by night and a law clerk by day, Leigh worked throughout law school at a firm in Washington, D.C., focusing on legislation and federal regulation affecting the energy industry. Before law school she served as a policy analyst for international affairs and climate change at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.