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Emily R. Lyons



Emily counsels agriculture, food and beverage, and dairy industry clients on a wide variety of legal and regulatory compliance matters.

With a strong background in food, environmental, and safety regulation of livestock operations and food processors, Emily has a deep understanding of the food processing business and leverages her experience to help clients navigate the complex and often changing regulatory environment. She is experienced in obtaining successful outcomes in issues that arise with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Emily also counsels clients on compliance with California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Proposition 65).

Prior to joining Michael Best, Emily served as counsel and director of regulatory affairs at the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA). As an in-house attorney with the association, she was responsible for overseeing active litigation, handling in-house discovery, monitoring association activities for antitrust issues, and managing trade association trademarks and intellectual property. Her representation included appearing at hearings and briefings, and meeting with Congress, the FDA, USDA, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), EPA, U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)-OSHA, and other administrative agencies. She also negotiated, drafted, and managed trade association contracts, non-disclosure agreements, and licensing agreements, among other documentation.


In her role at IDFA, Emily analyzed and communicated complex regulatory matters to more than 500 member companies, including food safety and defense, food labeling and marketing, environmental, worker safety, sustainability, and organic standards. Additionally, she oversaw various association committees, task forces, and working groups, including IDFA’s Genetic Engineering Labeling Task Force, Food Waste and Date Labeling Task Force, and Environmental and Worker Safety Committee.

Emily started her legal career as a law clerk with the National Pork Producers Council. She served as a summer associate with a full service Illinois firm, focusing on pollution matters, and was previously a legal and government relations intern with the National Farmers Union.


Emily has assisted clients on a wide variety of complex regulatory matters including the following.

  • Complying with the Food Safety Modernization Act preventive controls, foreign supplier verification, and intentional adulteration regulations.
  • Assisting in preventing or responding to inspection citations and enforcement actions such as 483s, Warning Letters, Import Alerts, and agency investigation.
  • Navigating the National Organic Program regulations and certification process.
  • Providing real-time advice during facility inspections and recall situations.
  • Developing lawful and creative labels, claims, and marketing programs.
  • Counseling clients on compliance with California’s Safe Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Proposition 65).

Emily helps clients stay information of and ahead of public policy issues and develops strategies for effective advocacy before regulators.



Community Involvement

  • Board Member, Greater Washington, D.C. Illini Club, 2016-2018
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