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For more than 30 years, McAfee & Taft has developed extensive experience in representing clients involved in all aspects of the food business, including:

  • Product research and development
  • Manufacturing and processing
  • Shipping, warehousing and distribution 
  • Licensing and franchising
  • Wholesale and retail sales
  • Branding and labeling
  • Marketing and advertising 
  • Co-packing and private labeling
  • Promotional allowances
  • FTC and Justice Department compliance/competition matters
  • Antitrust and trade regulation
  • Price discrimination 
  • Tying
  • Exclusive dealing arrangements
  • FDA/USDA compliance

Our Food Industry Group includes many lawyers who have spent a significant amount of their professional careers representing food industry clients.  Our extensive list of clients has ranged from leading national companies to medium-sized and smaller food manufacturers, wholesale food distributors, retail restaurants, warehouse clubs, convenience stores and grocers.  We also represent farmers and companies engaged in agribusiness.

Comprehensive Legal and Business Services

Corporate, Business and Growth Strategies

McAfee & Taft lawyers have an in-depth understanding of food industry issues and take great pride in helping clients achieve their profitability, operational and growth objectives.  Our lawyers have been involved in all types of business transactions and combinations, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and sales of food industry businesses.  Whether the assignment involves evaluating due diligence information, drafting and negotiating merger and acquisition agreements, dealing with securities law compliance issues, or any of a myriad of other contract issues, our team will add value to your food industry needs.  Our extensive experience includes dealing with government regulation of the food industry, including securities laws, price discrimination, trade regulation, and antitrust and competition matters.

We also have expertise in handling a wide variety of general contract matters, including supply and distribution agreements, franchising, licensing and marketing agreements, transportation agreements, corporate finance and lending transactions for food industry borrowers and lenders, and employment and benefit agreements and programs.

Branding, Labeling and Advertising Issues

Our intellectual property attorneys have the experience and resources to successfully and efficiently handle all types of branding, labeling, advertising and related litigation matters.  We clear and register trademarks throughout the world, draft and negotiate trademark-related agreements (e.g., license and co-existence agreements) and counsel our clients with respect to labeling requirements, comparative advertising issues and trademark enforcement strategies.  We also routinely procure and enforce patent rights, counsel clients on how to protect confidential and proprietary information such as trade secrets, and assist with e-commerce and Internet-related issues.

Environmental, Health & Safety Issues

Of increasing importance in the food industry is the complex field of environmental law.  Our attorneys provide advice regarding permitting, compliance, transactional due diligence and litigation services regarding all facets of environmental law, particularly as it pertains to the highly regulated areas of clean air, clean water and waste disposal.  Because of the nature of the food business, we are frequently called upon to assist clients in all areas of air permitting, including refrigerated systems, and ozone-depleting substances regulation.

Litigation and Dispute Resolution

On the litigation side, we are able to negotiate and resolve disputes between suppliers, resellers, brokers, dealers, distributors, manufacturers, franchisors and franchisees and others through litigation and alternative dispute resolution vehicles such as mediation and arbitration throughout the country.  This includes enforcement of creditors' rights through reorganization, bankruptcy and other remedies.

Employment, Labor and Benefits

Workplace issues play a crucial role in the life of every business, and our labor and employment attorneys are well versed in the challenges common within the food industry. These include Fair Labor Standards Act compliance, workplace safety issues, workers’ compensation claims, discrimination complaints, hiring and interviewing techniques, employment agreements and terminations, immigration, supervisor and management training, drug and alcohol testing, and contractor agreements.  When necessary, we also counsel food industry clients in union avoidance techniques and labor relations.

Our employee benefits attorneys assist food industry clients of all sizes on group health and welfare plans, qualified and nonqualified group retirement plans, and executive compensation, including equity compensation programs (such as stock option plans, phantom stock plans, and restricted stock award plans), long-term incentive awards and supplemental retirement plans.   We also counsel clients on legal compliance, funding and taxation issues, litigate ERISA claims, and handle the employee benefits and compensation aspects of transactions for which the firm provides corporate and securities services.

Of course, food industry clients have many of the same needs as other clients, and we draw upon the talents of all of the firm's lawyers as necessary to service our food industry clients, whether it be tax, real estate, construction, aircraft financing and registration, or any other field of law helpful to our business clients generally.


To learn more about McAfee & Taft’s Food Industry Group, please contact:

 

Industry Group Leader

W. Chris Coleman

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