The U.S. Appeals Court for the 9th Circuit issued a favorable decision earlier this year interpreting the California “made in the USA” statute. In a March 2018 unpublished opinion, the court affirmed the dismissal of lawsuits filed over the labeling of dog food and treats as “made in the USA” when they contained tapioca starch, an ingredient derived from a plant not commercially grown in the U.S. The appeals court decision confirms that a plaintiff cannot bring a lawsuit to challenge a “made in the USA” claim under the old, stricter version of the California “made in the USA” statute.  Instead, such claims would be governed by the more permissive version of the statute that permits a made in the USA claim when a product contains certain small amounts of foreign-sourced ingredients consistent with one of two exemptions. The case did not address how the claim should be viewed under the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) standard for U.S. origin claims.

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 He also assists clients in responding to proposed regulations and draft guidance, as well as, tracks and keeps his clients apprised of the latest trends in class action law suits and helps clients anticipate new regulatory initiatives.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

Senior Associate, Washington, DC

Veronica Colas counsels clients on the regulations and policy issues affecting food companies from farm to table. She represents all segments of the food industry, including manufacturers, retailers, restaurants, and food service companies, as well as their trade associations.
Veronica provides clear advice and practical solutions for compliance with labeling, advertising, and safety regulations from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Consumer Product Safety Commission.

A core part of Veronica’s practice is helping clients develop new products, label claims, advertising materials, and promotional campaigns, with a keen awareness of today’s litigation environment. She has a deep understanding of both current and forthcoming food labeling and production requirements, from nutrition and menu labeling, to the regulatory issues surrounding genetically engineered foods and organic food production.

Veronica also has significant experience in helping clients navigate regulatory enforcement challenges, such as Warning Letters, import detentions, and investigations by the Federal Trade Commission, Department of Justice, Congress, and state Attorneys General. She works closely with trade associations and food companies to craft comments and develop strategies in response to agency rulemaking and other public policy issues. She is a frequent speaker and contributor to industry publications.