Hyman Phelps and McNamara
Ricardo Carvajal
Photo of Ricardo Carvajal

(202) 737-4586

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

J.D., Northwestern University School of Law
M.S., Biology, University of Michigan

Bar Admissions
District of Columbia

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Ricardo Carvajal works with manufacturers and marketers of food and dietary supplements, OTC drugs, and cosmetics on a range of FDA, USDA, and FTC regulatory issues. Mr. Carvajal advises clients ranging from start-ups to multinational companies at all points in the supply chain, including bulk ingredient manufacturers, distributors of packaged goods, and retailers. He counsels clients on the regulatory status of ingredients and finished products, and provides advice on compliance with labeling and advertising requirements. He also helps clients interpret and comment on the implementation of new requirements, such as those arising from the Food Safety Modernization Act.

In enforcement matters, Mr. Carvajal counsels clients on managing inspections, responding to warning letters and other enforcement actions by federal and state regulators, and resolving import detentions. He also helps clients navigate product recalls and related corrective actions. Mr. Carvajal applies his subject matter expertise to corporate transactions, issuing opinions and conducting due diligence for acquisitions and IPOs.

Mr. Carvajal's approach to counseling clients draws on insights gained in his former role as Associate Chief Counsel at FDA, where his contributions were recognized through several team and individual awards. Mr. Carvajal serves on the Food and Dietary Supplements Committee of the Food and Drug Law Institute, and previously served as Chair of the Public Policy Outreach and Implementation Task Force of the Institute of Food Technologists. He is a member of the American Bar Association and the European Food Law Association.

Related Experience
Foods and Dietary Supplements
• Evaluates the regulatory status of ingredients and guides the preparation of food additive petitions, GRAS self-determinations, and new dietary ingredient notifications.
• Provides counsel on compliance with GMP, HACCP, and preventive controls requirements, as well as on Reportable Food Registry issues and product recalls.
• Evaluates compliance with requirements applicable to health, nutrient content, and structure/function claims.
• Assists on the development and marketing of specialized products, such as medical foods.
• Advises on requirements applicable to products derived through emerging technologies, such as biotechnology and nanotechnology.
• Advises on the regulation of applicable to food contact substances.

Advertising and Promotion
• Advises clients on requirements pertaining to labeling and advertising claims in print and electronic media.
• Defends against challenges to claims by regulators, and represents clients in disputes arising through the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

OTC Drugs and Cosmetics
• Helps companies interpret and comply with OTC monographs.
• Advises on the regulatory status of cosmetic ingredients, including color additives, and on the requirements applicable to promotional claims for cosmetic products.

Professional Affiliations
Member of the Global Committee, FDLI, 2013-2015

Awards & Recognition
• Chambers USA, Food & Beverages, 2015, 2014
• Client Choice International, Product Liability, 2015, 2014
• Who's Who Legal Life Sciences, 2015

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

On FDA And Food Ingredient Safety: Is The "Gras" Henhouse At Risk?,  December 3, 2010

The Cost of Inadequate Substantiation,  November 5, 2010

Publish and Perish: A Disturbing Trend in the European Union's Regulation of Nutrition Health Claims Made on Foods,  September / October 2010

Retailers on the Radar of FDA Under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act,  November/December 2009

Speaking Engagements    -    see more speaking engagements
CLE Telephone Seminar on the Food Safety Modernization Act,  October 16, 2014  2-hour CLE telephone seminar that will provide an overview of the Food Safety Modernization Act and its anticipated impact on food businesses.

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")

FDA-CFSAN and Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN) Dietetics and Nutrition Webinar,  September 22-23, 2014  The webinar is designed for dietetic interns, students and faculty in dietetics and nutrition, and practitioners in dietetics, nutrition and related professional areas.

FDLI - Is the GRAS Process Broken?,  July 23, 2014  Is the GRAS Process Broken?

IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo,  June 21-24, 2014  Recent product, ingredient, and technology developments, and their potential business impact

Blog Posts    -    see more blog entries
Non-GMO Claims Get a Boost from USDA,  May 15, 2015
With Vermont GMO Litigation, Uncertainty All Around,  May 5, 2015
FDA Announces Strategy for Review of Animal Food Ingredients, With Uncertain Implications for Industry,  March 31, 2015
9th Circuit Reverses Dismissal of False Advertising Lawsuit Targeting Benecol,  March 24, 2015
Paralyzed Veterans Is No More. Is Auer Next?,  March 19, 2015