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Joseph A. Levitt
Partner, Washington, D.C.
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Joseph Levitt is a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA); he served as Director of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) for six years, from February 1998 through December 2003. Joe counsels numerous food companies and trade associations in food safety, labeling, and compliance matters and how to work effectively with the FDA, as well as on regulatory aspects of federal, state, and private litigation. He is particularly accomplished in helping companies that face significant compliance challenges with the FDA. He has superb knowledge of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), including all phases of its development and implementation.

Joe's deep knowledge of the FDA is reflected in the many roles he held at the agency. While serving as FDA/CFSAN Director, Joe was involved in virtually all aspects of food regulation. In particular, he led successful efforts to modernize food safety regulation and enhance the security of the U.S. food supply. He also initiated a revitalization of the FDA's nutrition program. Earlier in his FDA tenure, Joe functioned as the executive assistant to the commissioner, director of executive operations, chief of staff, and acting deputy commissioner in the Office of the Commissioner, where he helped streamline the new drug review process and launch the agency's food labeling initiative. Additionally, he served as Deputy Director for Regulations and Policy at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, where he led efforts to implement safe medical device and mammography quality standards programs. He began his FDA career in the Office of Chief Counsel as a litigating attorney.

In the private sector, Joe has served on the Boards of Directors for the: Food and Drug Law Institute (FDLI); Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), recently rebranded as Food Allergy Research & Education, Inc. (FARE) (Board Chair, 2007); and FDA Alumni Association (Board Chair, 2012-14).

Joe has received numerous honors and awards in both the public and private sectors. Joe has repeatedly received a Top Tier ranking from Chambers USA for Food and Beverage lawyers. He also has been recognized as a BTI All-Star for excellence in client service. While at the FDA, Joe received three Presidential Executive Rank Awards as well as the HHS Distinguished Service Award, the HHS Secretary's Special Citation, the PHS Superior Service Award, the FDA Award of Merit (four times), the FDA Commissioner's Special Citation, and the FDA Equal Employment Opportunity Award. Joe has also received the FDLI Distinguished Service and Leadership Award, FDA Distinguished Alumni Award, and FDA Alumni Association Founders Award.

Joe received his bachelor's degree, magna cum laude, from Cornell University in 1975 and his J.D. degree, cum laude, from Boston University School of Law in 1978.

18 August 2014
"Safety Transportation of Food under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act," Feeding America Conference

14 August 2014
"Diversion of Food Waste to Animal Feed under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act," GMA/FMI Sustainability Summit in Boston

22 JULY 2014
"Role and Use of Nutritional Studies in Evaluating the Safety of a Food or Food Ingredient," ILSI North America Panel Discussion

10 JULY 2014
"Is the Addition Model for Tobacco and Alcohol Appropriate for Food?” Institute of Medicine Panel Discussion

6 APRIL 2014
"FSMA: What you MUST Know About the FSMA Proposed Rules in 2014: A Survival Guide," GMA Science Forum

Hogan Lovells Publications
02 June 2006 "Abigail Alliance: Creating a New Constitutional Right of Access to Experimental Drugs." Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Update, Hogan & Hartson LLP

25 February 2005 "FDA Drug Safety Reforms Take Shape." Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology Update, Hogan & Hartson LLP

Published Works
04 April 2013 "FDA's Changing Culture: What Every Food Company Needs to Know." Food Safety Magazine

January/February 2013 "Trends From 2011 FDA Warning Letters on Adulterated Food." Update, Food and Drug Law Institute

21 December 2012 "Interview: How to Implement Safe Measures for Food and Consumer Products." Inside Counsel, Summit Business Media

April-May 2012 "New Food Safety Law to Strengthen Allergen Control Programs." Food Allergy News

April 2012 "Time to Get Ready for FSMA." Dairy Foods

January 2006 "Keeping America’s Food Supply Safe." A Century of Consumer Protection, Food and Drug Law Institute

Food, Drug, Medical Device and Agriculture
Food and Agriculture
Food, Beverages, and Agriculture
Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology
  • FDA Objectives
  • Legislative Strategy Development
J.D., cum laude, Boston University School of Law, 1978 B.A., magna cum laude, Cornell University, 1975
  • Food and Drug Law Institute (2004-05)
  • Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) (2005-10) (Board Chair 2007)
  • FDA Alumni Association (2007-present) (Board Chair 2012-14)
  • Chambers USA (Tier 1), Food and Beverages (2009 to present)
  • BTI All-Star for Excellence in Client Service, 2013
  • Presidential Distinguished Executive Rank Award, 2001
  • Presidential Meritorious Executive Rank Award, 1991 and 1999
  • HHS Distinguished Service Award
  • HHS Secretary's Special Citation
  • Public Health Service Superior Service Award
  • FDA Award of Merit
  • FDA Commissioner's Special Citation
  • FDA Equal Employment Opportunity Award
  • FDLI Distinguished Service and Leadership Award
  • FDA Distinguished Alumni Award
  • FDA Alumni Association Founders Award
BAR ADMISSIONS / QUALIFICATIONS District of Columbia Massachusetts