A California appeals court has reversed a trial court decision that would require businesses to post Proposition 65 cancer warnings on certain breakfast cereals for acrylamide. The court ruled that a Proposition 65 warning for acrylamide on these cereals would pose an obstacle to the federal scheme, and therefore is preempted by federal law. To support the ruling, the panel of appeals court judges referenced the advisory letters issued by the FDA to the California regulators and Attorney General with “persuasive reasoning why Proposition 65 acrylamide warnings on whole grain cereals would mislead consumers and lead to health detriments.” We do not know if the decision will be appealed to the California Supreme Court.

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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 He also assists clients in responding to proposed regulations and draft guidance, as well as, tracks and keeps his clients apprised of the latest trends in class action law suits and helps clients anticipate new regulatory initiatives.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 strong understanding of life sciences, Xin Tao works closely with clients in the food and drug industries to navigate the evolving regulatory environments and develop innovative strategies to commercialize products made with emerging technologies both in the U.S. and China.

Xin’s previous work experience as a research biochemist informs his science-based food and drug law practices. His unique ability in understanding and interpreting the complex scientific issues as they relate to the governing legal and regulatory requirements helps clients with all phases of product development, manufacturing, and marketing. His practice focuses on novel food and drug applications that require U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review and FDA current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) compliance for foods, dietary supplements, and pharmaceuticals.  Born and raised in China, Xin is well-equipped to assist global companies to adapt to China’s National Medical Products Administration’s (NMPA, formerly known as China Food and Drug Administration or CFDA) ever-changing regulatory regime.  Xin is increasingly expanding his knowledge of California’s Proposition 65 (Prop 65) as it pertains to his clients.

Xin is actively involved in a number of organizations that serve Chinese legal and life sciences professionals in the Washington, D.C. region, including the Sino-American Pharmaceutical Professionals Association and the Washington, D.C. Chinese Legal Association. Xin is a frequent speaker and contributor to industry publications in both the United States and China.

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

Erika Ward

Erika Ward counsels clients from all segments of the food and agriculture industry, as well as their trade associations. She helps clients navigate a wide range of complex federal and state regulatory matters, including labeling and advertising compliance, organic food production requirements, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) enforcement challenges, import and export issues, litigation support, and comment drafting on proposed regulations and agency guidance.

Outside of food law and policy, Erika is also dedicated to her pro bono practice. She has focused on death penalty work and also assisted with the representation of a client appearing before the Maryland Parole Commission.

During law school, Erika served as the Managing Editor of Law and Contemporary Problems. She also spent a summer with Duke Law’s Health Justice Clinic, advocating for the rights of clients diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and cancer. Erika remains active in the Ohio State alumni community, serving as a mentor to current Ohio State students interning in Washington, D.C.