Advising clients on managing the supply chain: keeping ahead of political and consumer issues (traffic light labelling or guideline daily amounts, salt, obesity, nutritional claims and genetically modified organisms): minimising the brand and financial damage of product recalls: dealing with regulation and leading corporate deals are all in a day's work for the 20-lawyer Food and Drink team.
Clients include Tetley Group, Unilever, Cadbury plc, Improve Limited and Birds Eye.
Andrew Smith has extensive experience of high-value and strategic disputes as well as product recalls and associated issues in the food and drink sector. The team has substantial experience in all stages of product recall including crisis management and hazard analysis and critical control points.
Former barrister John Cooper specialises in public law and regulatory advice. He regularly advises on food labelling, regulatory compliance, enforcement and administrative powers. One client's business was threatened by Trading Standards officers attempting to impound hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of packaging. Only after the team challenged that decision were stocks released and the production line allowed to continue.
Sector specialists issue regular briefings to clients on issues affecting the industry. Within 24 hours of the Sudan 1 recall, the team had issued a practical list of guidance points that prompted at least one client to change its recall procedure.
Paul Wilkinson, a consultant with 30 years' experience in the food and drink sector, provides regular briefings to the team and clients.
The team is a member of the Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association and the Food and Drink Federation. Team members also write a quarterly column for Food Manufacture Magazine.