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David Ettinger
©2024 Keller and Heckman LLP

David Ettinger counsels multinational companies on food (with a unique emphasis on alternative proteins including plant- and cell-based foods) and food packaging, as well as consumer and tobacco-related products. He assists clients in navigating the import and export of goods to ensure compliance with regulations in the United States (U.S.), Europe, and Asia. David counsels companies in China and throughout Asia on matters ranging from ingredient and labeling to product seizure and detention, to food and consumer product recalls and consumer complaints.

David is the chief representative in Keller and Heckman’s Shanghai, China office and previously worked in the firm’s Washington, DC and Brussels offices. His global experience uniquely positions him to counsel foreign companies who need to navigate the regulatory landscape in Asia. To further enhance his and Keller and Heckman’s global capabilities, David is the Chair of Mackrell International, a global legal network of over 90 international, independent law firms. Mackrell International’s member base spans more than 60 countries, which provides Keller and Heckman clients with access to legal support in all major world markets. In addition, David is past Chair and current Vice Chair of the American Chamber of Commerce Shanghai’s (AmCham Shanghai) Food, Agriculture & Beverage Committee and serves as a moderator and presenter for many of its seminars and conferences.

David and his team in Shanghai publish China Regulatory Matters (CRM) and Asian Regulatory Matters (ARM), two e-newsletters that focus on regulatory updates in China and the rest of Asia. He is frequently invited to speak on international regulatory matters regarding food, food-related products, and tobacco-related products.

Prior to joining Keller and Heckman, David was a trademark attorney with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He has extensive trial experience as a former assistant district attorney in the Nassau County District Attorney's Office in New York, where he prosecuted felonies and misdemeanors. His advocacy skills are frequently used to defend companies before various international regulatory bodies and to help implement crisis management strategies.

Representative Matters

  • Provided legal advice regarding the Asian regulatory environment on food products, e.g., novel and conventional foods, health food, alternative proteins, genetically modified (GM) food, etc. 
  • Defended multinational food companies against professional consumers who act as bounty hunters
  • Represented food companies against challenges from regulatory authorities in Asia, including potential recalls, and responded to government inspections/investigations and warning letters
  • Provided guidance to clients on the evolving regulations and regulatory environment regarding food contact materials in Asian countries
  • Strategized to retrieve food and food-related products from government detention and seizures, and counseled clients to prevent facility shut-downs and disruption of business
  • Counseled clients on the regulation of novel tobacco products (i.e., e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn, etc.) in the U.S. and Asia, including applicable pre-market approval requirements, marketing restrictions, etc.
  • Advised clients on the status of labeling requirements for food products entering the Asian market
  • Guided clients through numerous food labeling issues, such as advising on food labeling, as well as formulating food claims for products to eliminate or mitigate regulatory risks
  • Counseled clients on the Chinese regulations on cross-border e-commerce (CBEC) mode of import for food products and various consumer products, e.g., personal care products
  • Prepared registration dossiers for drug excipients according to applicable Drug Master File regulations in Asia


  • AmCham Shanghai: Food, Agriculture & Beverage Committee, Vice Chair
  • Mackrell International, Chair 
  • District of Columbia Bar Association
  • European Chamber of Commerce


  • The Best Lawyers in America®: FDA Law, 2016 – 2024
  • Chambers China Ranked Attorney: Life Sciences (International Firms), 2018 – 2024


State University of New York at Albany, B.A., 1989 cum laude
Pace University School of Law, J.D., 1992
King's College, London, England, London School of Economics, LL.M., 1993 International Law