Contact Information

sarah.brew@FaegreBD.com2200 Wells Fargo Center
90 S. Seventh Street
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402
T: +1 612 766 7470
F: +1 612 766 1600

Education

University of Minnesota Law School
J.D., magna cum laude, Order of the Coif (1990)
University of Minnesota
B.A., magna cum laude (1987)

Bar Admissions

Minnesota Wisconsin

Court Admissions

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin

Sarah L. Brew

Partner

Sarah Brew leads the firm's food litigation and regulatory practice, which is nationally ranked by Chambers USA, and is a leader of the firm's food and agriculture industry group. Sarah has a national reputation for effectively defending food industry clients against labeling and class action consumer fraud claims and representing food processors, distributors and retailers in foodborne illness and contamination cases and supply chain disputes. She has served as national counsel in cases arising from many major outbreaks, involving products such as eggs, spinach, lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, cantaloupe, peanut butter, beef products, poultry products and pet food.

Sarah also counsels and provides risk management advice to food and dietary supplement clients on labeling and regulatory compliance matters, including the Food Safety Modernization Act, menu labeling regulations, product recalls and reportable food registry events, FDA and USDA inspections and enforcement actions, and supply chain management and related contracts.

Sarah writes and lectures nationally on a variety of food law and litigation issues, and she is co-author of the Minnesota Practice treatise on Products Liability Law published by Thomson West. Sarah was elected to the American Law Institute in 2007. She is a member of the International Association for Food Protection, the Food and Drug Law Institute, the American Bar Association's Food & Dietary Supplements Subcommittee, and other professional and trade associations relating to the food industry.

  • National representation of Fortune 500 food companies and retailers facing consumer fraud class action cases challenging various aspects of product labeling
  • National counsel for ground turkey producer, defending lawsuits and claims following 2011 Salmonella-related recall
  • National counsel for egg producer in connection with personal injury, class action and commercial claims arising from a 2010 Salmonella outbreak and recall and related FDA investigation and regulatory compliance issues
  • National counsel for peanut butter distributor facing wrongful death and personal injury claims in connection with the 2008-09 Salmonella outbreak and recalls
  • National trial counsel for the world's largest fruit and vegetable processor, coordinating the defense of foodborne illness litigation, including E. coli-related claims arising from a packaged lettuce recall in 2005 and spinach recall in 2006
  • National counsel for major seed supplier in connection with 2009 Salmonella outbreaks in alfalfa sprouts in several states
  • National counsel for commodities distributor involved in melamine-contaminated pet food litigation, advising the company through the 2007 recall process and FDA investigation, representing the company in connection with the class action settlement of MDL consumer claims, and defending indemnity claims and lawsuits brought by various pet food manufacturers
  • National counsel defending food distributor following E. coli outbreak in chain restaurants in 2006, successfully obtaining summary judgment for the client; obtaining declaratory judgment requiring indemnity and defense costs from an upstream supplier; and securing dismissal of class action claims by restaurants seeking damages for lost profits and harm to business reputation
  • Minnesota Tort Counsel for global quick service restaurant, defending personal injury and foodborne illness claims against corporate-owned restaurants in the state and providing risk management consultation on food safety issues
  • Minnesota Preferred Counsel for industry organization serving major food, beverage and consumer products companies

Representative Food Regulatory Matters

  • Counsels food, animal feed and dietary supplement companies on managing foodborne illness outbreaks, recalls, inspections and regulatory enforcement actions by FDA and USDA
  • Advises market-leading food, feed and dietary supplement companies in food labeling and marketing review and substantiation, regulatory compliance, and risk management with respect to consumer and competitor actions
  • Advises retail and foodservice clients on menu labeling issues and compliance
  • Counsels clients on compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)
  • Provides regulatory compliance programs and audits for FDA and USDA-regulated companies
  • Reviews labeling and marketing claims, including "natural" claims, and counsels companies in best practices for avoiding consumer fraud, Lanham Act and NAD actions

Honors

  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business — Food & Beverages: Regulatory & Litigation, 2013-14
  • Minnesota Super Lawyers — Class Action/Mass Tort, 2012-14
  • Who's Who in Product Liability Defence
  • Martindale-Hubbell — Peer Review Rating: AV® Preeminent™; Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers

Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association — Food & Dietary Supplements Subcommittee
  • American Law Institute (ALI)
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI)
  • Food and Drug Law Institute (FDLI), the Food and Dietary Supplements Committee 
  • International Association for Food Protection (IAFP)
  • Minnesota State Bar Association — Food and Drug Law Section Council
  • Minnesota Women Lawyers — Board of Directors, 2002-07; Secretary, 2004-05; Mentorship Committee, Co-chair, 1999-2002

Civic Activities

  • Midwest Art Conservation Center — Board of Directors, 2011-present
  • Touchstone Mental Health — Board of Directors, 2001-05

Clerkships

  • The Honorable Harriet Lansing, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1990-91

Presentations

  • Food Labeling Class Actions and Strategies for Dealing With and Preventing Litigation
    FDLI Food Advertising: Claims, Litigation and Strategies Conference, New York, October 2014
  • Tackling the Communication Conundrum: Coordinating Legal, Marketing and R&D Teams to Ensure a Consistent and Compliant Message From Start to Finish
    Momentum Conferences: The Food and Beverage Marketing and Advertising Law Summit, Chicago, September 2014
  • How to Avoid the Pitfalls of GMO Labeling and Litigation
    American Conference Institute, Food & Beverage Marketing and Advertising, Chicago, July 2014
  • Turning the Tide on Labeling Consumer Fraud Class Actions
    Moderator, Food & Agriculture National Conference, Faegre Baker Daniels, Minneapolis, May 2014
  • Regulation Nation: Focus on the Food Service Franchisor - How to Comply, Survive and Thrive
    International Franchise Association 47th Annual Legal Symposium, Chicago, May 2014
  • In-House Counsel Wish List for Good Partnerships with Outside Counsel in Food/Beverage Litigation
    Perrin Conferences: Challenges Facing the Food & Beverage Industries in Complex Consumer Litigations, Chicago, April 2014
  • The Most Debated Issues in Food & Beverage Consumer Fraud Litigation: How the Latest Cases Impact Jurisdiction and the Definition of "Natural"
    Co-chair, American Conference Institute, Food & Beverage Consumer Fraud Litigation, San Francisco, January 2014
  • Controlling Your Message in the Court of Public Opinion to Protect Your Brand
    American Conference Institute, 7th National Forum on Foodborne Illness, San Francisco, January 2014
  • GMO Dialogue
    FDLI Food Advertising: Claims, Litigation and Strategies Conference, New York, November 2013
  • Food Labeling Class Actions: The Latest Damages Boon?
    Panelist, Strafford Seminar, October 2013
  • Are These Foods Really "Wholesome" and "Natural"?
    Co-Chair, ABA Section of Litigation Food & Supplements Third Annual Workshop, June 2013
  • Case Study of the Sunland Peanut Butter Recall
    Food Drug Law Institute Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., April 2013
  • How to Avoid Being Labeled a Defendant — Litigation Proofing Your Labels
    Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) Litigation Conference, Miami, Feb. 20, 2013
  • Identifying Specific Challenges for Importing High-Risk Foods and Fresh Produce under FSMA
    Complying with FSMA's Food Import Regulations Conference, Food Chemical News, 2012
  • It's Not Agribusiness as Usual: How to Prepare for New Food Safety Regulations That Will Change the Industry
    Panel Discussion Co-facilitator, Food & Agribusiness Executive Forum, Wells Fargo and Faegre Baker Daniels, 2012
  • Current Issues in the Food, Beverage and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) Industry
    Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) Webinar, 2012
  • Food Inspections: Assessing Risk Factors and Minimizing Exposure
    American Conference Institute, Food Safety Regulatory Compliance Summit, 2012
  • The Impact of the Food Safety Modernization Act on the Food Industry
    Co-chair, ABA Section of Litigation Food & Supplements Second Annual Workshop, 2012
  • The New Frontier: Genetically Modified Organism Litigation
    GMA Food Claims and Litigation Conference, 2012
  • Effectively Managing Outbreaks and Recalls
    Food & Drug Law Institute, Food Safety at the Crossroads: How FSMA Is Changing the Landscape, 2012
  • Assessing the Food Safety Modernization Act's Impact on Your Litigation Paper Trail: Knowing What to Document, When and How
    American Conference Institute, 5th National Forum on Foodborne Illness Litigation, 2011
  • Food Safety: It's Not Business as Usual               
    International Foodservice Manufacturers President's Conference, 2011
  • Foodborne Illness Boot Camp
    Defense Research Institute, DRI, Strictly Hospitality Seminar, 2011
  • Traceability and Effective Recordkeeping to Ensure Accountability and Minimize Liability Throughout the Supply Chain
    American Conference Institute, Food Safety Regulatory Compliance Summit, 2011
  • The 2010 Egg Recall: A Case Study
    Grocery Manufacturers Association, Foodborne Illness Litigation Conference, 2011
  • Anatomy of a Food Recall
    American Dairy Products Institute, Annual Conference, 2011
  • Food Safety Modernization Act: Analysis and Industry Implications
    Minnesota State Bar Association, 2011
  • Peanut Corporation of America: A Case Study
    Grocery Manufacturers Association, Food Claims and Litigation Conference, 2011
  • The Evolving Science of Food Safety and Technology: Where Do We Go From Here?
    American Bar Association Food & Supplements Workshop, 2011
  • Apportioning Liability Throughout the Supply Chain
    American Conference Institute, 4th National Forum on Foodborne Illness Litigation, 2010
  • Food Labeling and Consumer Fraud Actions 
    Current Issues in Food Labeling Regulation and Enforcement Minnesota State Bar Association, 2010
  • Food Safety and Agricultural Security: A Litigation Perspective
    Midwest Association of Departments of Agriculture, Annual Conference, 2010
  • Implementing Effective Food Safety Compliance Programs: Perspectives Across the Chain of Distribution
    American Conference Institute, Interactive Workshop, Advanced Summit on Food Safety Regulatory Compliance, 2010
  • Long-Term Health Implications Tied to Contaminated Food
    Grocery Manufacturers Association, Foodborne Illness Litigation Conference, 2010
  • Managing and Litigating a Food Crisis: A Defense Perspective
    Minnesota State Bar Association, 2010
  • Long-Term Health Problems Associated With Foodborne Illness and How They Shape the Handling of Your Case
    American Conference Institute, 3rd National Forum on Foodborne Illness Litigation, 2009
  • Defending Foodborne Illness Cases
    McDonald's Corporation Annual Claims and Litigation Seminar, 2009
  • Foodborne Illness: Issues in Cases Involving Children
    HB Litigation Conferences, Children's Products Litigation Teleconference, 2009
  • Long-Term Health Problems Tied to Contaminated Food
    Grocery Manufacturers Association, Foodborne Illness Litigation Conference, 2009
  • The ABCs of Toxic Soup: An In-Depth Look at Current Issues of Causation in Chemical and Toxic Torts
    Defense Research Institute, Product Liability Conference, 2009
  • New Risks, Trends and Lessons Learned from Recent Outbreaks and Litigation
    American Conference Institute, 2nd National Forum on Foodborne Illness Litigation, 2008
  • Food Liability Law Update
    McDonald's Corporation Annual Claims and Litigation Seminar, 2008 
  • Perspectives on Foodborne Illness Litigation
    Seattle University School of Law, 2008
  • Crisis Control: Limiting Liabilities through Strategic Response Plans
    American Conference Institute, National Forum on Foodborne Illness Litigation, 2008 

Published Articles

  • FDA Menu Labeling Rules Have Long Reach
    Co-author, Law360, December 2014
  • New Proposed FSMA Regulations: From Farm to Fork
    Co-author, Food Quality, April/May 2013
  • Moving Forward With Food: Legal Developments to Watch for in 2013
    Co-author, Food & Drink, Spring 2013
  • Food Law in Flux: Compliance and Risk Management Strategies to Address FSMA Regulations and Food Labeling Litigation
    Chapter author, Inside the Minds: Recent Developments in Food & Drug Law, Aspatore Books, 2012
  • Just Label It? Potential Impact of California's Proposed GE-Labeling Legislation
    Co-author, Food & Drink, Summer 2012
  • What Are Some of the Challenges Involved in Defending Foodborne Illness Cases?
    Medical Law Perspectives, July 2012
  • FDA Has No Jurisdiction Here - Or Does It?
    Co-author, Ethanol Producer, April 2012
  • The Laws of the Label: If You Can Avoid Making Vague or Misleading Claims on Food Labels, You Might Be Able to Avoid a Class Action Lawsuit
    Co-author, Food & Drink, Fall 2011
  • Food Labeling Remains Ripe for Consumer Fraud Class Actions
    Co-author, ABA Products Liability Newsletter, Summer 2011
  • Products Liability Law, Vol. 27, Minnesota Practice Series
    Co-author, Thomson West, 2006, updated annually
  • Emerging Issues in Food Litigation, Chapter 12A: Current Law, Strategies sand Best Practices in Product Litigation
    PLI, 2010, updated annually
  • Crisis Management, Chapter 8: Current Law, Strategies and Best Practices in Product Litigation
    PLI, 2009, updated annually
  • Where the Rubber Hits the Road: Steering the Trial Court Through a Post-Kumho Tire Evaluation of Expert Testimony
    27 William Mitchell Law Review 467, 2000