Brian P. Sylvester

Special Counsel


Brian P. Sylvester is a special counsel and food and drug lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP. He advises food, dietary supplement, cosmetic, medical device, and prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drug companies on federal and state regulatory compliance. As part of his practice, he regularly interfaces with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and analogous state bodies.

Drawing on his regulatory background as a former USDA lawyer, Brian is adept at navigating every stage of the production and distribution lifecycle – from premarket clearance through manufacturing, advertising, labeling, recalls, and unanticipated regulatory scrutiny. He also regularly advises corporations and industry trade associations on strategies to shape federal and state policies and legislation.

Professional Memberships

  • Fellow, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity
  • Member, Food and Drug Law Institute (FDLI)
  • Member, National Bar Association
  • Member, Council for Agricultural Science and Technology

Community Engagement

Brian sits on the Board of Trustees of the Harmony DC Public Charter School. He also serves as vice president of the Cornell Black Lawyers Alumni Network and as DC Regional Representative for the Black Alumni of Dartmouth Association. He is an active member of the Dartmouth Club of Washington, D.C. and the Dartmouth Lawyers Association.


Brian earned his law degree from Cornell Law School (J.D., 2008). During law school, he served as a general editor of the Cornell Journal of Law & Public Policy and studied abroad at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Brian graduated, cum laude, from Dartmouth College in 2005 with an A.B. in psychological & brain sciences (with honors). At Dartmouth, Brian was a presidential scholar and a recipient of the Dean’s Plate. He is a graduate of Trinity School in New York, New York.


  • Speaker, Cellular Agriculture Regulatory Considerations, New Harvest 2019, MIT, July 19 & 20, 2019
  • Speaker, FDLI Annual Conference: Exploring Advanced Topics in Food and Drug Law, Washington D.C., May 3, 2019
  • Speaker, “Future of Food,” 2019 Food Label Conference, Washington D.C., April 15, 2019
  • Speaker, “U.S. Department of Agriculture,” FDLI Introduction to Food Law, Washington D.C., March 20, 2019
  • Speaker, “Regulation of Cell-Based Meat,” Industrializing Cell-Based Meats Summit, San Francisco, CA, February 7, 2019
  • Speaker, Cultured Meat Symposium (CMS) 2018, San Francisco, CA, November 1, 2018
  • Speaker, “Mock Scenario – Inside an FDA Inspection,” Food & Beverage Exchange, Chicago, IL, October 16, 2018
  • Speaker, “Innovative Foods Part I,” FDLI’s Food Advertising, Labeling and Litigation Conference, Washington D.C., September 26, 2018
  • Speaker, “Regulating Outside the Box,” CLE International Food Law Conference, Denver, CO, April 19, 2018


  • Co-author, “Key Takeaways From USDA's Biotech Regulation Proposal,” Law360, June 26, 2019
  • Author, “Adding Cannabidiol to the Menu,” Food Safety Magazine, February 19, 2019
  • Author, “Building The Regulatory Conversation On Cellular Agriculture,” Law360, October 30, 2018
  • Author, “FDA Tackles Cell-Cultured Foods,” Food and Drug Law Institute, July 2018
  • Author, “FDA Greenlights Production of GE Salmon at U.S. Facility, But That Is Not the End of the Story,” American Bar Association, July 2018
  • Author, “Clean meat staking its claim amid regulatory uncertainty,” Food Safety News, July 1, 2018
  • Author, “Gene-Edited Crops Ripe For Renewed Regulatory Focus,” Law360, January 29, 2018
  • Author, “Shopping For Standard Food Date Labels,” Law360, August 25, 2016
  • Author, “Organic Rule Change Causes A Synthetics Scuffle,” Law360, October 12, 2016
  • Author, “Food Labeling: Is Mandatory Antibiotic Claim Labeling Needed?,” Food and Drug Law Institute, March/April 2015
  • Co-author, “USDA-FSIS Steps Up Reinspection Enforcement: Do You Have Your Import Paperwork in Order?,” Food Safety Magazine, March 3, 2015


Brian is admitted in the District of Columbia and New York.



Manufacturing MarketTrends | July 2019, Issue 2
12 July 2019
Manufacturing Industry Advisor
Key Takeaways From USDA's Biotech Regulation Proposal
26 June 2019
Your Next Hamburger Could Be "Slaughter-Free"
19 June 2019
Manufacturing Industry Advisor