2019 Schedule (check back soon for 2020 schedule)

  • Key:
  •  General Session
  • Other Activities

5:00 PM - 6:30 PM


5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

Welcome Reception

Renew friendships and meet new colleagues at the Welcome Reception Sunday evening from 5:30 PM – 7:00 P.M. located on the Flag Terrace. 

Thank you to Hogan Lovells for sponsoring this event.


7:00 AM - 4:30 PM


7:00 AM - 8:00 AM


8:00 AM - 8:30 AM

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Please join Stephanie Becker, Sr. Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer

Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. and the 2019 FMI Legal, Regulatory & Compliance Conference Chair as she welcomes all of you to Charleston, South Carolina. 

  • Stephanie Becker - Sr. Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer, Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc.

8:30 AM - 9:00 AM

Industry Trends


9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Recalls, Market Withdrawals and Consumer Advisories: The Rules are Changing

With two high profile and market crippling consumer advisories last year from the FDA and CDC for romaine lettuce, the industry was faced with removing product from the market with no notice and no reimbursement.  We will talk through what happened with the foodborne illness outbreak and why it fell outside of a typical recall.  We will also discuss best practices in supply chain agreements to prepare for such events in the future. 

  • Laura Venker - Senior Associate, Alston & Bird
  • Hilary Thesmar - Chief Food & Product Safety Officer & VP, Food Safety Programs, FMI

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Networking Break

10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Food Labeling: The Times They are a Changing

Because the food label remains the single most dynamic means by which marketers communicate with consumers prior to purchase, the regulatory environment matters more than ever.  Go beyond the long-awaited roll-out of the revamped Nutrition Facts panel to hear about practical issues many will face, and how FDA and USDA will (or will not) harmonize their respective Nutrition Facts panels.  Consumer interest in healthy foods, natural foods, the content of foods and readable ingredient statements parallel regulatory developments.  What will happen to natural?  How will FDA’s commitment to redefine “healthy” impact this and other nutrient content claims?  What will FDA’s Nutrition Innovation Strategy mean in the next one to three years?  This value-added program will give you plenty to think about and even more to take back to your company. 


11:35 AM - 12:35 PM

Food Litigation: Identifying and Mitigating Risks.

This session will review recent trends in food litigation, including slack fill and multifunction ingredients, as well as individual cases of special interest.  It will also explore ways of reducing the risk of having to pass through the courthouse doors

12:35 PM - 1:30 PM


1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Employment and Labor Law Update: The Future is CHANGING, Are You Ready?

The latest employment and labor law challenges will be presented in this fun and interactive section that will prepare you for the changes and challenges that lie ahead.  This program will identify areas that may be targeted or changed and offer compliance strategies and thoughtful approaches to alternatives available to employers.  We will discuss things such as how to navigate the independent contractor business relationship, how to mitigate the risk of liability, and the latest legal trends and developments related to the gig economy. We will also provide you the latest happenings from the NLRB because whether you have a union or not, the NLRB doesn’t care . . . your companies are all subject to its jurisdiction. Finally, we will offer practical guidance to help you navigate these issues.

  • Jackie E. Kalk - Shareholder, Littler Mendelson, P.C.
  • Mark Schneider - Shareholder, Co-Chair, Traditional Labor Practice Group, Littler Mendelson, P.C.
  • Sara Kalis - Shareholder, Littler Mendelson, P.C.

2:35 PM - 3:35 PM

Regulatory Issues in New Food Trends: Cell Based Meat and More

The growth and development of plant-based meat alternatives and the anticipated arrival of cell-based meat and fish products to the market continues to dominate conversation in the food industry. Retailers are watching how these products are expanding into the marketplace and wondering how consumers and regulators will continue to respond to and drive this food trend.  This session will take a closer look at the latest products being developed, market data on consumer demands, and the ever-changing regulatory landscape and challenges for these high profile food products.


3:35 PM - 4:00 PM

Networking Break

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

What the Hemp is Going On? Navigating the Cannabis Craze

Consumer interest in Cannabis-derived products is at an all-time high, and the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill has only fueled more interest in these products.  Although the 2018 Farm Bill created new legal distinctions between Cannabis that is marijuana and Cannabis that is hemp, hemp-derived ingredients, including cannabidiol (CBD) remain subject to regulation by FDA, USDA, and the states.  FDA is currently accepting comments on a number of issues related to Cannabis-derived ingredients in FDA-regulated products to inform the agency’s regulatory approach; however,  FDA currently views CBD as an unlawful food or dietary supplement ingredient.  This session will get into the weeds on the current regulatory landscape for cannabis-derived products, and how FDA, USDA, and states are approaching regulation and enforcement. 


5:30 PM - 8:00 PM


7:00 AM - 8:00 AM


7:30 AM - 11:30 AM


8:00 AM - 8:45 AM

At the Intersection of Digital Innovation and Privacy: The Impact of State Privacy Regulations

Ground breaking digital innovation in the retail industry usually involves the use of personal data—geofencing to deliver targeted ads and coupons, AI to drive dynamic pricing, and even old-school consumer reward cards.  Yet, as demand for personal data is growing, consumers are demanding more control over their personal data and holding companies that violate their trust accountable.  Regulations—at the International, Federal and State level—are giving consumer’s the control they have requested. In the US, several states have adopted or are considering legislation that imposes restrictions on how a business can use personal data – including for marketing purposes and biometric data in AI.  Join us to discuss recent state regulations, including the California Consumer Privacy Act, and pending legislation, such as the Washington Privacy Act, that may require a fundamental shift in how you use personal data for marketing purposes. 


8:50 AM - 9:50 AM

Managing Risk in Your Store: OSHA & ADA

OSHA’s aggressive enforcement continues, and can have a significant impact on the retail and warehousing operations of the grocery industry.  Similarly, Title III lawsuits relating to disability access—both in stores and on the internet-- are on the rise.  Please join us for this interactive session to talk about strategies to protect your company and manage risk in these important areas.


9:50 AM - 10:00 AM

Networking Break

10:00 AM - 10:40 AM

Responding to a Media Crisis

Social Media is often a great way to reach customers quickly with advertising, updates, instant promotions and brand messaging.  The viral nature of social media means companies can reach more potential consumers faster, without need for spending additional advertising dollars.  The speed with which a message travels, however, can be a detriment when things go wrong.
This session explores ways in which companies can use and leverage social media and influencers to spread  brand and company information, and identifies pitfalls in using social media, including when to pull a campaign that is not working, and how to respond when things go wrong.  In addition, the session will cover preventive actions companies can take to mitigate online damage before it gets out of control.  From morals clauses in influencer contracts to rogue employees, the session will outline the hot topics in the area of managing reputations and brands at the speed of social media. 


10:45 AM - 11:45 AM

"Ethical Issues for In-House Counsel: Technical Competency, e-Discovery, and Privilege Protection"

Acting as in-house counsel has become more complex over the years in light of advances in technology and discovery related electronic storage.  This presentation will focus on the competencies required of an in-house attorney in the areas of technology, discovery, and privilege protection.  The session will explore each topic and highlight areas in which in-house counsel needs to be focusing.


11:50 AM - 12:10 PM

Closing Remarks

12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

Legal Affairs Committee Lunch

FMI retailer, wholesaler, and product supplier members are invited for lunch at the Belmond Charleston Place to discuss conference learnings and priority issues from 12:30 P.M. – 2:00 P.M..