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Hot Topics in Food & Dietary Supplement Advertising

(443 reviews)

Produced on May 19, 2016

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Course Information

Time 1h 31m
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Advertising Food, Beverage, & Agriculture

Course Description

Food and health claims remain a top priority at the FTC. Marketers in this space face a host of challenges regarding the format of their advertising and the backup for their claims. This program provides an overview of hot topics and challenges facing food and dietary supplement marketers and manufacturers. Topics include native advertising and the FTC’s new guidance on this growing marketing tool, as well as the FTC’s evolving standards on substantiation and claims interpretation. Additionally, recent NAD and Lanham Act cases are discussed, including the Dannon/Chobani litigation.

 Learning Objectives: 

I.     Understand the general legal issues around food and health marketing

II.    Identify claims and practically apply the rules presented

III.   Recognize recent and important legal developments in food and supplement marketing

IV.   Analyze recent cases for their real world relevance to advertisers

Credit Information

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Leonard L. Gordon

Venable LLP

Len Gordon is a partner in Venable's Antitrust and Advertising and Marketing groups. An experienced litigation attorney, Mr. Gordon has more than 20 years of experience in government and private practice. 


Prior to joining Venable, Mr. Gordon spent seven years at the Federal Trade Commission, most recently as the Regional Director for the Northeast Regional Office in New York City. At the FTC, Mr. Gordon managed the Northeast Regional Office in matters including case selection; case management; and supervision of all attorneys, investigators and support personnel. He served as the liaison to the Bureau of Competition, Bureau of Consumer Protection, and other law enforcement and community groups. 


Since joining Venable, Mr. Gordon has represented companies and individuals in investigations and litigation with the Federal Trade Commission, state Attorneys General, the Department of Justice, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He also regularly counsels clients on antitrust, advertising and marketing compliance issues using his experience at the FTC to help guide clients' business activity. Mr. Gordon also represents clients in business to business and class action litigation involving both consumer protection and antitrust issues. 


Significant Matters

  • Successfully represented several different manufacturers of dietary supplements in having FTC investigations into their advertising closed without agency action. 
  • Successfully represented several different payment processors in FTC investigations into whether the processors should be held liable for their roles in processing credit card payments for entities that were sued by the FTC. The investigations closed without agency action. 
  • Successfully represented several different entities in the coaching and mentoring industry in FTC investigations into their advertising and marketing. The investigations closed without agency action. 
  • On-going representation in numerous state Attorney General investigations involving advertising and negative option marketing. 
  • Multiple FTC investigations involving advertising and marketing issues in the dietary supplement industry. 
  • Successfully resolved FTC investigations involving "green claims." 
  • Multiple representations involving data security and privacy investigations. 
  • Advising numerous trade associations and standard setting organizations on antitrust and consumer protection issues. 



Antitrust Matters

  • In Re Omnicare: Managed challenge to $760 million merger in institutional pharmacy business, which resulted in consent decree after litigation begun. 
  • Hospital Mergers: Directed the review and analysis of over a dozen hospital mergers. 
  • In Re Dun & Bradstreet: Managed and served as lead counsel in challenge to acquisition in the educational marketing data industry. Consent decree providing for divestitures obtained after several months of administrative litigation. 
  • In Re Nufarm: Managed challenge to acquisition in the herbicide industry that resulted in consent decree providing for divestitures. Worked with Canadian and UK competition authorities in obtaining relief. 
  • In Re Cardinal Health: Managed challenge to acquisition in radiopharmacy industry that resulted in consent decree providing for divestitures. 
  • In Re Lubrizol: Managed and led challenge to acquisition in the lubricants industry that resulted in consent decree providing for divestitures. 
  • In Re Providence Health: Managed investigation into hospital system’s acquisition of the two leading cardiology practices in Spokane, Washington. Transaction ultimately abandoned after concerns expressed. 
  • In Re Puerto Rico Association of Endodontists: Served as lead attorney on investigation into price fixing and boycotting. The investigation led to the entry of a consent decree. 
  • In Re Rite Aid: Served as one of the key members of the team investigating the Rite Aid-Jean Coutu (“Eckerd”) merger that resulted in a consent decree requiring the divestiture of stores. 
  • In Re Colegio De Optemetras: Served as one of the key members of the team that investigated the Colegio de Optemetras for price fixing. The investigation resulted in the entry of a consent decree.

Consumer Protection Matters

  • In Re Daniel Chapter One: Managed, served as lead trial counsel and argued Commission appeal of case against seller of supplements that purported to treat and cure cancer. Obtained cease and desist order from ALJ, which was affirmed by the Commission and the D.C. Circuit. 
  • Home Assure: Managed case against mortgage foreclosure rescue company and its principals. Matter settled for $2.3 million, representing full consumer redress. 
  • Academy: Managed case against debt collector. Matter settled for $2.25 million judgment, which at the time was highest ever in a debt collection case. 
  • Comcast: Managed case against Comcast for Do Not Call violations relating to entity-specific violations. Matter settled for $900,000 civil penalty. 
  • Bronson Partners: Managed case against sellers of weight loss products. Obtained summary judgment on liability and court entered $1.94 million judgment after evidentiary hearing on monetary relief. Second Circuit affirmed. 
  • Classic Closeouts: Managed case against electronic merchant for unauthorized billing. Matter settled, and principal charged criminally based on our investigation. 
  • Preferred Platinum Services Network: Managed case against seller of work-at-home opportunities. Matter settled, and principal charged with and plead guilty to criminal charges based on our investigation.


  • Recognized in the 2013 edition of Legal 500, Technology: Data Protection and Privacy
  • Recognized in the 2012 edition of Legal 500, Marketing and Advertising


Scott T.

great material and presentation. Very informative.

Patricia L.

Presenter was great: practical application

Shelly A.

Very rich in detail, efficiently and authoritatively presented.


Outstanding presentation. Presenter was excellent

John K.


Patrick O.

Wonderful report! Though the law and regs will likely change a lot with new administration!

Kenneth W. P.

I learned how little I know about this topic. Good thing I chose this course as an elective CLE.

Adria B.

Well done!

Cullen M.

Interesting material well presented.

Julie A. B.

Good use of examples. Thorough in scope.

Retha M.

Great overview.

Xiaohong C.

Very informative and up to date program. Thank you!

Clarence S.

Excellent course, and very informative review of applicable case law.

Jeff T.

Great Presenter. Makes the topic very interesting

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