Thirty-five (35) years ago, the Washington, DC law firm presently known as Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz PC, or simply “OFW Law,” originated as Olsson and Frank, P.C. It was comprised of two (2) founding attorneys, Philip C. (Phil) Olsson and Richard L. (Rick) Frank, who left another DC law firm to start their own. Anita Harris (still with the firm as its Director of Finance) moved with them as their legal administrator.
Since its 3-person inception, OFW Law has represented a growing number of conventional food and dietary supplement clients, including manufacturers, distributors, food service establishments, and trade associations. Over the years, the firm’s Conventional Foods and Dietary Supplements practice groups have grown considerably. Practitioners at the firm presently engaged in addressing issues in these areas now number 15 and include both attorneys and government relations personnel (i.e., Senior Policy Advisors).
OFW Law’s food/dietary supplements practice team has attained countless successes for our clients in its 35-year history. Many of these successes were (and must remain) confidential matters. Nevertheless, some examples of our practice team’s undertakings provide insight into our capabilities:
- Our professionals were instrumental in the enactment of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA), the FDA Modernization Act (FDAMA), the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act (Bioterrorism Act), the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA), the FDA Amendments Act, and the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. We also have been actively involved in rulemakings to establish regulations implementing these statutes, as well as in implementation and utilization of the regulations.
- Our practice team, in a matter that spanned 5 years, assisted a client in securing millions in capital (i.e., dollars and shares) from a “milestone” provision in a merger agreement that opposing counsel had deemed unearned and unattainable. The matter essentially entailed petitioning FDA for a nutrient content claim; motivating the agency to authorize the claim through discussions with Congressional staff, high level administrative personnel, and attorneys in the Office of Chief Counsel; and (once authorized) collaborating with litigation co-counsel to achieve resolution of the contractual dispute.
- We partner with our client, The Food Institute, by authoring practical publications for sale, including:
- HACCP & U.S. Food Safety Guide (2nd edition);
- Food Industry Bioterrorism Act Guide;
- Dietary Supplements: A Regulatory Guide;
- Guide to Regulation of Food Ingredients and Food Packaging Materials;
- Food Labeling Guide (3rd edition);
- Importing Food Into The United States;
- Guide to Handling FDA Food Inspections (2nd edition); and
- Food Products Recall Manual (4th edition).
- Our professionals have worked with numerous clients to determine the status of their food ingredients under the generally recognized as safe (i.e., “GRAS”) provision of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), 21 U.S.C. § 321(s). We have filed many successful GRAS Notifications for various food ingredients, including: potato and oat hull fibers; cultured dairy, fruit and vegetable materials; cultured corn, cane or beet sugars; and carbon monoxide.
- Our practice team has represented top food and beverage companies in competitive disputes involving misleading labeling and advertising claims. Using both traditional and untraditional strategies, our actions on behalf of clients led to cessation of the challenged claims and the restoration of a level competitive playing field.
- Pursuant to amendment of the FD&C Act to include section 403(h)(3)(B) (21 U.S.C. § 343(h)(3)(B)), we represented a client by preparing and submitting to FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition a successful notification to authorize in-shell eggs, treated by a proprietary process according to specified minimum processing parameters, to be represented in labeling as “pasteurized.”
- We have helped several clients obtain temporary marketing permits (TMPs) authorizing the interstate shipment of packs of food varying from the regulatory requirements of FDA’s definitions and standards of identity (e.g., canned fruit cocktail, canned tuna), many of which have not been updated in more than a quarter century.
Like OFW Law generally, our practice team is adept at providing clients with creative solutions to difficult problems. We look forward to another 35 years of successes.