Hyman Phelps and McNamara
Riëtte van Laack
Photo of Riëtte van Laack

(202) 737-9637

Practice Areas
Foods and Dietary Supplements
Advertising and Promotion
OTC Drugs and Cosmetics
Animal Drugs and Feeds

J.D., summa cum laude, University of Tennessee College of Law
Ph.D., Meat Science, University of Utrecht
M.S., Human Nutrition, Agricultural University of Wageningen

Bar Admissions
District of Columbia

Printer Friendly Page

Riëtte van Laack, Ph.D., provides regulatory counsel on foods and dietary supplements, OTC drugs, cosmetics, and animal feed and drugs on a range of FDA, USDA, FTC, and CPSC issues. With advanced degrees in nutrition and meat science and more than 15 years as a food science and technology researcher, Ms. van Laack possesses specialized knowledge of the scientific aspects of products under review.

Ms. van Laack has substantial experience with food and dietary supplement issues, labeling and advertising issues that arise from the use of health, nutrient content, structure/function, and disease claims. She counsels clients regarding GMP and HACCP compliance issues, Reportable Food Registry issues, and responses to warning letters. Ms. van Laack advises clients on regulatory strategy, including requirements pertaining to self-determinations of GRAS status and determinations of new dietary ingredient status, and provides expert opinions on FDA regulatory matters.

Ms. van Laack also has substantial experience with regulation regarding over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and cosmetics. Among other things, she counsels clients regarding labeling and advertising of OTC drug products and cosmetics.

Ms. van Laack's practice includes USDA regulatory issues including requirements for import of animal products, use of ingredients in meat, poultry, and egg products, as well as the methods used for their processing and handling and organic labeling requirements.

Ms. van Laack conducts due diligence evaluations of FDA-regulated companies and provides advice on representations and warranties. She additionally assists clients with compliance and liability issues related to products regulated both by the CPSC and FDA.

Ms. van Laack's work as a scientific researcher spans European and U.S. universities, as well as the USDA, where she worked for its Agricultural Research Service from 1993 to 1995. She conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Connecticut and was a scientist at the Department of the Science of Food of Animal Origin at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. Ms. van Laack was a professor at the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of Tennessee, where she remains an adjunct professor. She began her legal career at an Atlanta law firm, focusing on litigation. While in law school, Ms. van Laack was an Articles Editor of the Tennessee Law Review.

Related Experience
Foods and Dietary Supplements
• Evaluates the regulatory status of ingredients and assists in the preparation of food additive petitions, GRAS self-determinations, and new dietary ingredient notifications.
• Counsels on labeling requirements including health, nutrient content, and structure/function claims, country of origin labeling, natural claims, and other marketing claims.
• Counsels clients concerning the development and marketing of specialized products, such as medical foods and foods for special dietary use.
• Provides counsel on organic regulations and helps companies with petitions to place ingredients on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances.
• Helps companies develop USDA-regulated products, including ingredients for use in meats, poultry, and egg products.
• Interprets state labeling requirements, including California's Proposition 65.

OTC Drugs and Cosmetics
• Helps companies interpret and comply with OTC drug monographs and other regulations.
• Advises on the regulatory status of cosmetic and drug ingredients and requirements applicable to promotional claims for cosmetic and OTC drug products.
• Reviews labeling for OTC drug products and cosmetics.
• Reviews and advises clients regarding child resistant packaging and other CPSC regulated issues.

Advertising and Promotion
• Advises clients on the requirements regarding labeling and advertising claims for foods, dietary supplements, OTC drugs, and cosmetics.
• Provides counsel on responses to Civil Investigative Demands by the FTC and challenges by NAD and competitors.
• Challenges competitor claims before NAD and ERSP.

Animal Drugs and Feed
• Assists clients in response to FDA import detentions and provides counsel regarding import of animal products.
• Counsels clients regarding AAFCO Official Definitions for use of new ingredients in animal feed and pet foods.
• Reviews labeling and advertising for animal and pet food.
• Assists with GRAS determinations for animal feed ingredients.

Articles / Publications   
HP&M Files Comments on Draft NDI Guidance; Request Withdrawal and Reissuance Reflecting DSHEA Intent,  December 2011

Seeing Red Over "Green" - The Fight Over "Organic", "Natural", and "Sustainable",  May 2009

Playing "Hard Ball" With FDA Might Lead to Criminal Prosecution,  April 2008

Speaking Engagements    -    see more speaking engagements
Pre-IFT15 Short Course – Labeling Requirements and Implications for Foods Marketed in the U.S.,  July 9-11, 2015  “Overview of States’ Jurisdiction” and “Basic/Mandatory Labeling Requirements for FDA”; 7/11 Co-Presenter (with Robert Post): “Nutrition Labeling Requirements for FDA and USDA” and Speech: “Organic, Natural, Non-GMO, Gluten-free, Cage- free and Other Claims”]

Spring Short Courses 2015,  March 25-26, 2015  "Overview of States' Jurisdiction" and "Basic/Mandatory Labeling Requirements for FDA"; Co-Presenter (with Robert Post): "Nutrition Labeling Requirements for FDA and USDA" and Speech: Organic, Natural, Non-GMO, Gluten-free, Cage-free and Other Claims"

A Workshop on GRAS Determinations for the International Society of Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology (,  October 13-14, 2014  Diane McColl is hosting A Workshop on GRAS Determinations for the International Society of Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology ("ISRTP")

What's New in Advertising Law, Claim Support and Self-Regulation,  September 29-30, 2014  Developments in advertising claim substantiation and litigation.

Where Was It Made? Legal Analysis of Country of Origin for Govt. Procurement, Intl. Trade & General Commerce,  July 21, 2014  DC Bar's Where Was It Made? Legal Analysis of "Country of Origin" for Government Procurement, International Trade, and General Commerce

Blog Posts    -    see more blog entries
D.C. Circuit Squeezes the Juice Out of POM Wonderful; Denies POM’s Challenges to FTC Order Except for the Two-RCT Substantiation Requirement ,  February 1, 2015
AMS Report to FDA: Stakeholders Want a Federal Standard of Identity for Honey but Do Not Agree on the Content of the Standard,  January 19, 2015
FTC Settlement Silences Advertisers of Supplements Advertised as Effective for Children’s Speech Disorders; Settlement Silent on the Number of RCTs Re,  January 13, 2015
FDA Issues Final Rule on Menu Labeling; Sweeping and Prescriptive, Few Retail Establishments Are Exempted,  December 1, 2014
Congress Passes the Sunscreen Innovation Act to Speed up FDAs Review of Time and Extent Applications for Sunscreen Ingredients and Other OTC Ingredie,  November 25, 2014