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Rachida
Semail
Partner
Brussels
Rachida Semail
©2024 Keller and Heckman LLP

Rachida Semail counsels clients on the regulatory status of food packaging and food-related matters in the European Union (EU), Member States, and jurisdictions around the globe.

Rachida helps clients navigate the complexities of establishing a suitable EU status for food packaging articles and materials, including helping them apply the principle of mutual recognition to enable the free movement of non-harmonized food-contact materials throughout Europe. She also advises clients on EU requirements for biocides, active and intelligent packaging, packaging waste, and single-use plastics and recycling matters. In addition, Rachida assists clients with respect to materials intended for contact with drinking water and packaging issues related to cosmetics, drugs, and medical devices. A significant part of her work relates to petitioning the European Food Safety Authority or Member State authorities, e.g., the German BfR or Dutch authorities. 

In the area of food law, Rachida advises clients on labeling and advertising compliance, substantiation of claims, product recalls, borderline products, novel foods, and other matters. Rachida has extensive knowledge on the textiles and machinery directives, as well as on tobacco products. 

Prior to joining Keller and Heckman, Rachida practiced regulatory law at a French law firm specializing in EU and French food law, which allowed her to gain experience on enforcement of EU and French law. During her doctorate studies, she completed an internship with the legal service of the European Commission in Brussels, where she gained a first-hand perspective of policymaking and the legislative process. 

Rachida is a contributing author to packaginglaw.com, as well as related industry publications, and is frequently invited to speak at international food-contact conferences.

Representative Matters

  • Determining the regulatory status of innovative products, including nanomaterials, and advising on the regulatory path for a lawful marketing 
  • Strategizing the compliance approach in non-harmonized sectors and obtaining clearances where needed for new food contact substances before national agencies, such as the German Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung (BfR) and the Dutch G4 Commission 
  • Preparing petitions for food contact substances to EFSA, including active materials and for recycling PET processes 
  • Advising on regulatory aspects regulating chemical recycling
  • Assisting clients in the compilation of information needed to support the compliance of the packaging used for cosmetics to be included in the product information file
  • Reviewing packaging materials supplier agreements for products intended to be used in medicinal products
  • Advising on compliance with the European Pharmacopoeia monographs
  • Advising on the implications on clients’ businesses of the revision of the Medical Device Directives with the new rules laid down by the Medical Devices Regulation 
  • Advising business operators with respect to their reporting obligations, be it to enforcement authorities or to downstream users, in case of a compliance issue arising following for instance migration limits being exceeded 
  • Advising on the implication of Brexit on clients’ businesses
  • Advising trade associations notably in the context of the reevaluation of the food contact legislation
  • Advising client on the applicable requirements on food processing aids around the world and in obtaining the regulatory clearances where required 

Awards

  • Chambers and Partners Europe Guide – Regulatory: Agro/Food’s Spotlight Table Recipient, 2022 – 2023

Education

Université des Sciences Sociales de Toulouse, J.D., 1992