Brett T. Schwemer's Profile Image

Brett T. Schwemer

Phone: (202) 789-1212
Fax: (202) 234-3550

Brett Schwemer is the managing principal at OFW Law and head of the firm's USDA practice group. His primary specialty is food safety and labeling law, representing meat and poultry companies and trade associations before USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and in the case of dual jurisdiction establishments and other food companies, before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Brett counsels clients on a variety of food law issues, such as FSIS and FDA inspectional and enforcement authorities, labeling requirements, export and import requirements, recalls, and HACCP, hazard analyses and preventive control requirements under the laws administered by FSIS and FDA. He has spoken and written extensively on these subjects and is a certified HACCP trainer. Should FSIS or FDA initiate an enforcement action against an establishment for failure to comply with statutory or regulatory requirements, Brett can assist the establishment in civil and criminal enforcement proceedings before the agencies and the U.S. Department of Justice.

In addition to food safety and labeling law, Brett specializes in regulatory, compliance, and enforcement matters before other USDA agencies, such as the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA). Brett successfully assisted several meat and poultry trade associations, packers, and poultry slaughterers in contesting a controversial GIPSA proposed rule on competition that would have adversely impacted the entire livestock and poultry industries. He has also represented packers, poultry slaughterers, dealers, and market agencies in numerous GIPSA investigations and administrative enforcement proceedings for alleged violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act.

Before joining OFW Law, Brett served as a Case Agent for the FDA's Special Prosecution Staff, which assisted the U.S. Attorney's Office in Baltimore in investigating and prosecuting companies suspected of violating FDA laws and regulations. This experience gives Brett special expertise in providing advice regarding government compliance investigations that could lead to civil enforcement actions or criminal prosecution under the laws administered by regulatory agencies such as FSIS, FDA and GIPSA.

Brett was born in Grosse Point, Michigan, and received his B.B.A. from James Madison University in 1989 and his J.D. from the Ohio Northern University School of Law in 1992, graduating with distinction. He was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 1992 and the District of Columbia Bar in 1995. He is currently a member of the District of Columbia Bar.

Bar and Court Admissions

  • Maryland, 1992
  • District of Columbia, 1995
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1997

Education

  • James Madison University, B.B.A., 1989
  • Ohio Northern University School of Law, Juris Doctor, With Distinction, 1992

Special Agencies

  • Food Safety and Inspection Service
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration
  • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Representative Cases

  • Excel Corp. v. USDA, 397 F.3d 1285 (10th Cir. 2005)

Publications

  • Food and Drug Law Regulation, 3rd Edition, Chapter Five, Food: Meat and Poultry Inspection (Co-Author with Jolyda O. Swaim), The Food and Drug Law Institute, 2015.
  • “Are you prepared for an FSIS compliance visit,” The National Provisioner (June 7, 2014).
  • “Refocused attention on Listeria control,” The National Provisioner (October 4, 2012).
  • “Regulations and Legislation: GIPSA proposal – the law of unintended consequences,” The National Provisioner (November 1, 2010).
  • Food: Meat and Poultry Inspection, Food and Drug Law and Regulation, Food and Drug Law Institute (2008).
  • USDA Inspections, A Guide for Meat and Poultry Processors, Food Products Association (now Grocery Manufacturers Association) (2005).

Browse Brett Schwemer's posts on the Ag/FDA Blog