The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) recently released a guidance document to help companies determine whether their operations are exempt from the inspection requirements of the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA). This guidance marks FSIS’s first significant attempt to articulate policy addressing the applicability of its retailer and restaurant exemptions to newer food distribution models, such as online retailers and home delivered meal services. In particular, the guidance confirms that online-only grocery stores and home delivery meal kit services are eligible for the retailer exemption from FSIS inspection.

This post focuses on new aspects of FSIS’s guidance that apply to operations such as online grocery stores, online markets, meal kit delivery services, and restaurants, although the guidance addresses other exemptions including custom slaughter operations.

Click here to read more.

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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.

Samantha Dietle

Associate, Washington, DC

Sam Dietle provides practical legal solutions and regulatory guidance to all segments of the food industry, including manufacturers, restaurants, retailers, animal producers and processors, and their trade associations.

She advises clients on federal and state regulatory issues that arise throughout the entire food supply chain, including labeling and advertising compliance and claim substantiation issues, enforcement actions by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), litigation support, and drafting comments on proposed regulations and agency guidance. Sam also counsels clients in consumer products industries on compliance with Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) requirements.

Prior to joining Hogan Lovells, Sam advised food packaging companies on FDA premarket requirements and regulatory compliance matters. Sam also worked with electronic cigarette companies as FDA began to regulate this industry. While in law school, she served as a judicial intern in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, working on vaccine injury claims cases.