Claire J. Mitchell

Experience

Claire Mitchell is an attorney in the Technology and Intellectual Property group and is based in Seattle. Claire advises clients in the development and implementation of intellectual property strategies suitable to their business, including trademarks, copyrights and marketing and advertising. Specifically, she counsels clients in the registration, maintenance, protection, and licensing of trademarks and copyrights.

Although Claire applies her knowledge to a wide variety of clients and industries, she has particular expertise in the food, beverage, animal feed, dietary supplement and agribusiness industries. Accordingly, she regularly advises international, national, and regional retailers, suppliers, importers, growers, packers, processors, and restaurants within those industries on a variety of regulatory compliance and risk management issues in addition to intellectual property matters. In particular, she advises clients on product labeling, marketing, advertising, and packaging to ensure compliance with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act, the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA), and the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA).

Claire also works with companies on food safety compliance strategies which includes assisting with standard operating procedures, current good manufacturing practices, HACCP compliance, letters of guarantee, protocols for handling a government inspection, responses to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Warning Letters, product recall strategy, and compliance with the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Given the nature of Claire’s experience and knowledge of the food, beverage, and agribusiness industries, she is also frequently called upon to provide advice and counsel to companies on mergers, acquisitions, financings, and other strategic corporate transactions as well as during various commercial contract negotiations.

Prior to joining Stoel Rives, Claire was an Associate with Marler Clark LLP in Seattle, WA where she represented victims of foodborne illnesses such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria, assisted in the investigation of foodborne illness outbreaks, and regularly communicated with officials at federal, state and local regulatory agencies.

Claire blogs on the Food Liability Law blog and the Alcoholic Beverages Law blog and has been published in the Food and Drug Law Institute's Update and the American Agricultural Law Association's Agricultural Law Update.

Representative Work

  • Frequently performs full consumer product label evaluation to ensure compliance with federal statutes and corresponding regulations.
  • Reviews marketing and advertising materials and develops strategies to meet FDA, FTC, and state and local law requirements governing product labeling and health related claims.
  • Advises clients on certification and labeling issues for “organic” products to ensure compliance with U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program’s standards and regulations.
  • Counsels food industry clients on various voluntary product claims including “gluten free,” “kosher,” “all natural,” and “non-GMO,” as well as nutrient content claims, structure/function claims, and health claims.
  • Reviews and drafts letters of guarantee, distribution agreements, supplier and vendor agreements, indemnification agreements relating to consumer products.
  • Continuously monitors state and federal legislation and policies affecting the regulation of products containing genetically engineered ingredients.
  • Advises clients on the requirements and limitations associated with making health claims, nutrient content claims, and structure/function claims.
  • Formulates strategies for responding to regulatory agency warning letters or enforcement action, consumer complaints, or threats of litigation.
  • Educates clients about the legal standards governing product recalls and market withdrawals and related liability risk mitigation considerations.
  • Guides food, beverage, and dietary supplement companies through the product recall or market withdrawal process.
  • Interfaces with state and federal regulatory officials on behalf of clients during a food safety and/or quality incidents.
  • Counsels clients on requirements set forth under the Food Safety Modernization Act.

Professional Honors & Activities

  • Member, Planning Committee, Nutrition Law Summit
  • Member, American Agricultural Law Association
  • Member, Food, Cosmetics and Nutraceuticals Committee, American Bar Association
  • Member, Business Law Section, Washington State Bar Association
  • Member, King County Bar Association
  • Member, Operations and Technical Affairs Committee, Northwest Food Processors Association
  • Agribusiness Seminar, Harvard Business School Executive Education, Jan. 2014
  • Women in Agribusiness Summit, Oct. 2013

Presentations

  • "A Primer on Antitrust Law for Trade Associations," Operations and Technical Affairs Committee Meeting, Northwest Food Processors Association, Portland, OR, Apr. 15, 2014
  • "FDA Will Likely Move to Ban Trans Fats, but the Industry is Ready for It," LXBN TV, Nov. 27, 2013
  • "GMO Labeling Legislation: Status Update on Initiative 522,"Autumn Assembly, Northwest Food Processors Association, Portland, OR, Oct. 1, 2013.
  • "Panel Discussion on GMO Labeling," GMO's: Agricultural Law & Biotechnology, The Seminar Group, Seattle, WA, Jul. 26, 2013
  • "Looking Ahead to Washington State's Legalized Marijuana Marketplace," LXBN TV, Jan. 24, 2013
  • "Food Liability 101: How to Avoid Litigation," Getting Your Recipe to Market: Entrepreneurial Development Series, Portland, OR, Oct. 16, 2012

    Publications

    Education

    • University of Arkansas School of Law, LL.M., Food and Agricultural Law, 2014
    • Hofstra University School of Law, J.D., 2010
      Articles Editor, Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal
    • Villanova University, B.A., English, 2007, magna cum laude

    Admissions

    • Washington
    • New York, Second Judicial Department

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