On January 31, 2023, FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf announced a proposed redesign of the human foods program at FDA. The proposal follows the findings and recommendations of a Reagan-Udall Foundation expert panel that Dr. Califf had charged with evaluating the agency’s existing human foods program. Commissioner Califf called the redesign “transformative” and believes the
Drawing from more than a decade of experience both working at FDA and in private practice, Jessica O’Connell provides strategic advice to a broad range of companies and trade associations in engaging with food and drug regulatory bodies and Congress. She assists clients in complying with U.S. regulatory requirements for foods, dietary supplements, cosmetics, OTC drugs, and animal products, and has specific expertise advising on FDA’s import and export requirements across all product categories. She also regularly counsels clients regarding potential crises, such as recalls, regulator investigations, and other unanticipated regulatory attention. Chambers USA reports that Jessica "is enthusiastic, exceptionally smart and a talented lawyer who brings tremendous insight from being a regulator" and that she "knows how best to interact with the FDA in a productive and efficient way."
Jessica works closely with clients to develop product strategies that are low-risk from both a regulatory and litigation perspective while also meeting marketing goals and objectives. She has engaged with Congress on cosmetic and drug legislative efforts and alternative meat and other food labeling requirements and has represented clients in both FDA and FTC investigations, including negotiating consent decrees, and in matters before the NAD. Jessica has specific expertise regarding the federal and state legal landscapes surrounding the development and marketing of products containing cannabidiol (CBD), the regulatory framework for alternative protein ingredients and products, Proposition 65, organic labeling, and claim substantiation requirements, as well as newly implemented manufacturing and supply chain requirements under FSMA.
Previously, Jessica served as an Associate Chief Counsel in FDA’s Office of Chief Counsel, until 2014. While at FDA, Jessica counseled various components of FDA and HHS on a broad range of legal issues, and including FDA’s implementation of FSMA and agency actions regarding product marketing claims and intended use, food additives and GRAS status, cosmetics and color additives, medical foods, and foodborne illness outbreaks and related actions, including recalls and other enforcement activities. In addition, Jessica provided legal counsel to the agency and Department regarding FDA’s import and export activities for all FDA-regulated products.