Claire J. Mitchell
Claire Mitchell is a Seattle-based business transactional and regulatory compliance attorney for the food and beverage industry. As a business advisor, Claire counsels food and beverage businesses on mergers, acquisitions, financings, and other strategic corporate transactions as well as during various commercial contract negotiations.
In addition to her transactional work, Claire regularly advises companies at all levels of the supply chain, including international, national, and regional producers, processors, and retailers, on a variety of regulatory compliance, risk management, and licensing issues. Specifically, she offers guidance to 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 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). Claire also assists food and beverage companies in seeking liquor and other licenses at the local, state and federal level.
Additionally, Claire assists clients in developing and implementing intellectual property strategies suitable to their business, including the registration, maintenance, protection, and licensing of trademarks and copyrights.
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.
Representative Food and Beverage Work
- Evaluates consumer product labels 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, and indemnification agreements relating to consumer products.
- 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 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.
- Assists clients in obtaining required state and federal licenses, permits and registrations.
Representative Transactional Work
- Represented subsidiary of sPower in its back-leverage debt financing of three portfolios of solar PV projects (25 projects, totaling 144 MW) in California and New York by a club of lenders, including KeyBank National Association, OneWest Bank, and Zions Bank.
- Represented subsidiary of sPower in its tax equity financing of a portfolio of 10 solar PV projects in California, totaling 84 MW.
- Represented subsidiary of sPower in its tax equity financing of a portfolio of four solar PV projects in California, totaling 26 MW.
Professional Honors & Activities
- Board Member, Green Plate Special, Apr. 2015-present
- Business Development Chair, Washington Women Lawyers, King County Chapter, Jan. 2015-present
- Member, Food, Cosmetics and Nutraceuticals Committee, American Bar Association
- Member, Operations and Technical Affairs Committee, Northwest Food Processors Association,
- Member, Planning Committee, Nutrition Law Symposium, 2014
- Agribusiness Seminar, Harvard Business School Executive Education, Jan. 2014
- Women in Agribusiness Summit, Oct. 2013
- “U.S. Consumer Protection Law: Focus on Food Labeling Litigation,” 2015 Global Legal Forum, Korea Legislation Research Institute, Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 13, 2015
- "Overcoming the Wage Gap: Panel Discussion," Diversity Week, Seattle University School of Law, Seattle, WA, Feb. 25, 2015
- "The Ethical Implications of Advising Clients on Marijuana-Related Legal Issues in Washington," Washington Women Lawyers, King County Chapter, Seattle, WA, Dec. 10, 2014
- "Beef vs. Beer: Breweries & the Food Safety Modernization Act," Young Lawyers Division Fall Conference, American Bar Association, Portland, OR, Oct. 10, 2014
- "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," GMOs: 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
- "Battle Over Labeling Genetically Modified Food Continues," Law360, Dec. 19, 2012
- "Stoel Rives Washington Initiative 502 Licensing Cheat Sheet (PDF)" Nov. 2012
- "Spotlight on California's Food Labeling Lunge," Law360, Sept. 7, 2012
- "California GE Ballot Initiative Could Be a Game Changer," Guide to U.S. Food Labeling Law, August 2012
- "A Call For Labeling Genetically Engineered Foods," Law360, Apr. 12, 2012
- "BPA's Expiration Date May Be On Its Way," Law360, Mar. 23, 2012
- "Student's Corner: Increased Surveillance for a Safer Food System," Update (Food and Drug Law Institute), May/June 2011
- "Case Law Update: Keepseagle v. Vilsack," Agricultural Law Update, Apr. 2011
- 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
Print to Word
- New York, Second Judicial Department