Next Generation Partners

EU regulatory: Food in Belgium

DALDEWOLF

In ‘exceptional lawyer and food law expertAude Mahy, the team at DALDEWOLF offers specialist expertise in food law and regulatory issues, including market access, advertising, and intellectual property issues, as well as a strong record in crisis management relating to product bans and contamination, including cross-border proceedings and litigation before European and domestic courts. Clients include food, feed, and beverage producers and operators across the supply chain, alongside retailers.

Practice head(s):

Aude Mahy


Testimonials

‘Aude is an exceptional lawyer and food law expert. Very enjoyable to work with her and her team.’

‘I always work with Aude Mahy on EU and Belgian regulatory food questions. She is very reactive and understands perfectly the needs of the business/food producers. She is able to give practical advice that can be translated directly in the daily practice of our firm. When a question is raised, you get an answer very quick which is very helpful considering the current in-house environment where you have to be responsive and decide quickly.’

‘Aude Mahy is a key leader in food law and very hands on and pragmatic.’

Work highlights


  • Assisting a Honduras-based fruit producer and worldwide leader in the export of melons, in the post-crisis management of a multi-country outbreak of salmonella having impacted EU countries and the UK during the summer 2021 and having led to the set-up of temporary increased controls at the EU border.
  • Assisting an international family-owned business based in Finland with subsidiaries in Belgium, active in the production of plant-based products and snacks, in the management of a food crisis linked to a sudden ban of marketing of one of the company’s ingredients by the Belgian food safety authority.
  • Successfully represented a market leader and international conservation specialist in the seafood industry, in a dispute with the Belgian Food Safety Agency regarding the legality of a cold smoking treatment process in tuna.

Food Law Science & Partners

Food Law Science & Partners was founded by specialist food law advisor Katia Merten-Lentz, and handles food safety, crisis management, and litigation mandates for clients across the food supply chain, and also has strong expertise in food innovation, including the development of novel food products, the approval of new ingredients, and issues relating to nutrition claims and labelling. Lentz is noted as an authority on food law, and also regularly handles lobbying and policy development mandates for industry associations.

Practice head(s):

Katia Merten-Lentz


Other key lawyers:

Nathalie Henin


Testimonials

‘Deep, practical knowledge in EU food regulatory policy. Regulatory advice is timely and strategic—they collaborate closely with clients to meet unique needs and find creative avenues to unblock challenges as they arise.’

‘We have worked with Katia Merten-Lentz, Nathalie Henin and team for years. They have been instrumental in helping our company build and grow our presence in the EU market. We consider them as an extension of our global team and rely on their guidance and support for our most challenging EU regulatory needs. Cannot say enough nice things about Food Law Science. The reputation and credibility they have built speaks for itself.’

‘The partners in the team have significant experience with legal and regulatory matters with a strong focus on food. In addition, the team includes scientific expertise that is required to understand the function or other reason behind a regulatory enquiry. Having a strong network within the food industry and food regulatory affairs, they can also provide insight into the direction that regulatory authorities (or indeed the market) is taking – which can be taken into account by the client when making a decision with costly briefs such as an application for novel food status.’

‘Katia Merten-Lenz has many years of experience in the field of food regulations and in our discussions has shown her understanding of not only the legal/regulatory issues in the case but has a good awareness of how food technology relates to the issue – which gives the client confidence that their enquiry or request is well understood. Katia also shows great enthusiasm for her field and for advising the client with the best approach to reach their objective, while making any challenges clear so the client can make an informed strategic decision.’

‘Colleagues at Food Law Science and Partners are very proactive and helpful. I have always got immediate responses within a short span of time. The services offered are remarkable. The outcome of collaborative projects has always been beyond expectations!’

‘Katia Merten-Lentz is a highly professional lawyer who brings in her rich expertise and knowledge. Her interpretation of the complex regulations simplifies any question. I have had a great experience in working with Katia and her team, they do a great job and work in good collaboration.’

Key clients

Kalsec


La Vie


Laboratoires Ineldea


Blanchard Artisan Gourmet


Apeel Sciences


Fuji Oil


Bel Group


JRS


Sodiaal Group


Bunge


Vital Meat


Soufflet Group


Ocard


Even Group


Omya


Viatris (Pfizer)


Umiami


Kinoko-tech


La Martiniquaise Group


Biocon


IPA


Léa Nature


Hogan Lovells International LLP

Hogan Lovells International LLP advises on a range of food and feed-related matters, including broad regulatory compliance, health and nutrition claims, health and safety, and contaminants, with a global client base including a number of major brands and manufacturers. Experienced regulatory adviser Jacqueline Mailly  leads the team; she has standout expertise in high-stakes incident response matters such as product recalls, bans, and crisis management.

Practice head(s):

Jacqueline Mailly


Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL offers EU-level and domestic food regulatory expertise across member states to a client base including food and beverage producers and agribusinesses, handling issues such as product labelling, contamination, supply chain disruption, and health claims. The practice, which leverages cross-border presence across the EU, is led by Geert Bovy, a specialist in commercial and consumer protection issues.

Practice head(s):

Geert Bovy


Testimonials

‘Pragmatic, efficient, to the point expert advice.’

‘Great business understanding – pragmatic / solution oriented.’

Bird & Bird

Bird & Bird advises a wide range of food and beverage clients alongside agribusinesses and biotech operators on a range of matters, including product labelling and distribution, European market entry, and the development of new products, such as the use of insects in food and feed. The team combines food regulatory expertise with relevant life sciences and pharma knowledge, allowing it to handle R&D and product development issues. Nicolas Carbonnelle, promoted to partner in May 2022, heads up the team, and is focused on regulatory and distribution work within the industry, advising clients across the food supply chain.

Practice head(s):

Nicolas Carbonnelle


Testimonials

‘Our team has been working with Nicolas Carbonnelle now for well over 2 years. Nicolas is extremely knowledgeable in our needs and requests. He is always available or makes himself available when we have urgent matters. Billing is sent over monthly without us having to chase for this information.’

‘Nicolas Carbonnelle is very knowledgeable. Having learned our projects and strategy, he brings to the plate some wonderful suggestions and recommendations. Always available, and gets back to us in a timely manner.’

Key clients

SodaStream


IPIFF (International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed)


Evergrain


SodaPressCo


Eckes-Granini


8Greens


Covington & Burling LLP

Covington & Burling LLP advises food sector clients, including trade associations, ingredients manufacturers, and brands in growth sectors such as plant-based proteins on regulatory compliance, product approval and distribution, and strategic planning, as well as leveraging the specialist expertise of practice head Bart Van Vooren across the full range of food law issues in administrative litigation before enforcement bodies and European courts. Van Vooren is also noted for his specialist knowledge of issues such as biodiversity in the food space.

Practice head(s):

Bart Van Vooren


Testimonials

‘Covington provides broad-based expertise, both at the partner and associate level, in cutting edge legal areas, with rapid and comprehensive service.’

Key clients

Aboca


Aloe Vera of Europe BV


Eat JUST, Inc.


St. Pierre Groupe Limited


Beyond Meat


PrecisionBiotics


Health Food Manufacturers Association


Holland & Barrett


OptiBac Probiotics


Raisio Group


Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc


Science in Sport plc


Vitabiotics


Work highlights


  • Representing Beyond Meat in commercial litigation in France brought against them by the French livestock industry, and are lead counsel in a challenge against France’s ban on meaty names for plant-based protein.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper advises global names in the food and drink industry on regulatory issues relating to advertising, packaging, and product distribution, alongside broader commercial and competition law issues. The practice, led by experienced regulatory and trade practitioner Bob Martens, also represents clients in proceedings brought by regulators and competitors relating to advertising and regulatory challenges, with standout work in the field of CBD products.

Practice head(s):

Bob Martens


Key clients

SodaStream International Ltd


Lotus Bakeries


Bacardi-Martini


Barry Callebaut


Sodexo


Hard Rock Café


Philip Morris


Colruyt


Work highlights


  • Representing SodaStream in connection with proceedings initiated before the Enterprise Court of Brussels by various bottling companies to challenge SodaStream’s advertising campaigns on its vision of a cleaner and healthier planet.
  • Acting for Lotus Bakeries on regulatory matters, including providing advice regarding the labelling requirements of its products under the applicable EU legislation and the assessment of possible sanctions in the event of non-compliance.
  • Acting for a major international brand in relation to the packaging and labelling of food products, and also the applicable legislation and requirements with respect to the use of hemp and cannabis (and notably cannabidiol (CBD)) in food products and related marketing restrictions.|

Jones Day

Jones Day advises a range of food industry clients, including brands, manufacturers, distributors, and trade associations, on broad regulatory considerations relating to product development, distribution, and contentious issues relating to environmental contamination and product recall, with capabilities in regulatory compliance advice and litigation before enforcement bodies and European courts. The team is led by Ursula Schliessner, who has broad experience across environmental, food, and health and safety regulation.

Practice head(s):

Ursula Schliessner


Testimonials

‘The Jones Day team is very professional and has thorough understanding of the relevant regulations. They provide answers with clear recommendations, regulatory references and in a timely manner.’

‘Ursula has a wide knowledge and understanding of the Regulations. She has an answer for all our questions and the ability to refer us to other consultants if needed (for different areas).’

Key clients

E 172 Consortium of pharma, food, feed, and chemical companies


Keller and Heckman LLP

Keller and Heckman LLP advises food and food packaging clients with particular expertise in market access mandates, alongside environmental issues relating to food ingredients and contaminants. The team is led by Rachida Semail, who advises on cross-border matters and has expertise in both indirect and direct food law, with Hazel O'Keefe also noted for her work on food contact materials and waste.

Practice head(s):

Rachida Semail


Other key lawyers:

Hazel O’Keefe; Tjoena Sier


Testimonials

‘The main strength of the team is their expertise in the field, being able to address the different requirements: legal, toxicity, scientific. The ability to translate wishes to activities is also inspiring.’

‘I believe that beyond the knowledge and work required, they are able to establish personal links with the customer, guiding and checking status. I fully appreciate when they downscale the legal conversation to meet the customer level. I fully appreciate the most the EU team: Rachida Semail and Tjoena Siera, with whom I have established a stronger and more routine interaction.’

‘In the frame of petition work for food contact applications, K&H brings a value of success as they know the content that needs to be submitted, they know the authorities to whom a petition needs to be submitted and they will answer the concerns of the authority with the right language.’

Key clients

Avantium Renewable Polymers


Carbiolice and Carbios


Loop Industries


Symphony Environmental Technologies Plc


SABIC Innovative Plastics B.V. (SABIC)


Tronox


Ingevity


Work highlights


  • Assisting Carbiolice and Carbios (sole owner of Carbiolice as of June 2021) with regulatory matters regarding compostable plastic packaging that will contribute to waste reduction of PLA-based plastics and will thus support the circular economy.
  • Assisting Ingevity in preparing a petition for a filing with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to expand the authorization of a monomer used in food-contact plastics.
  • Assisting SABIC with the preparation and successful filing of a petition dossier with the German Environmental Agency (‘UBA’) to have a substance approved for use in materials in contact with drinking water.