As seen in news reports, two recent Department of Justice (DOJ or Department) memoranda address the role of guidance documents in civil enforcement actions. Taken together, the two memoranda greatly limit the Department’s use of DOJ and other agencies’ guidance documents to support civil enforcement actions, as guidance documents do not impose binding standards on private parties. However, for the reasons set forth below, the memoranda are not expected to have a significant impact on enforcement actions initiated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in food-related matters.

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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 He also assists clients in responding to proposed regulations and draft guidance, as well as, tracks and keeps his clients apprised of the latest trends in class action law suits and helps clients anticipate new regulatory initiatives.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 Joe Levitt Joe Levitt

Partner, Washington, DC

As the FDA’s former top food regulator, Joe Levitt brings a true insider’s knowledge to helping food industry clients deal effectively with the FDA. Whether influencing policy making or confronting a threatened compliance action, Joe’s 25 years of FDA experience puts clients in the best position to succeed.  In the private sector, Joe was on the ground floor when Congress developed the landmark FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Joe was also a leading voice for the food industry when the FDA developed regulations that all food companies must now follow. No one can help navigate the labyrinth of FDA’s FSMA regulations better than Joe and his team, and no one can better put your company in the driver’s seat when the FDA inspector knocks on your door for your first FSMA inspection.

Joe adeptly handles high visibility recalls and compliance actions. If a company finds itself in trouble with the FDA, they need someone with a deep insider’s understanding of what works and what doesn’t. Joe knows what the agency expects in the compliance arena, and the bar clients will be expected to meet. He can communicate his client’s position calmly and effectively to the FDA so the matter gets put behind them. His record of “helping startups and multinational companies… survive Food and Drug Administration investigations and avoid import bans that could shutter the companies,” led to Joe being named a Law360 Food & Beverage MVP (2016).

Joe is among the most decorated officials in FDA history, with his achievements being recognized by multiple U.S. presidents, cabinet secretaries, and FDA Commissioners. He maintains close working relationships with senior FDA officials and has served as the Board Chair of the FDA Alumni Association.