Susan D. Brienza, Ph.D.

Legal Assistant: Tina Kaminski


Susan Brienza helps clients navigate complex federal laws relating to the manufacture, labeling, marketing, and sales of conventional foods, dietary supplements, pet supplements, organic foods, “functional foods,” sports drinks, cosmetics, “cosmeceuticals,” aromatherapy, over-the-counter drugs, homeopathic drugs, and medical foods. In her regulatory compliance practice since 1997, food and drug law issues have included: drafting label claims and risk assessment for aggressive claims; hemp/CBD issues (since 2012); import/export and detention matters; defending GMP inspections; new dietary ingredients (NDI) opinion letters; self-affirmed GRAS status and Panels; CA Prop 65 issues; third-party scientific literature; and formal Comments to the FDA on Draft Guidances and Proposed Rules. In addition to regulatory compliance in FDA matters, Ms. Brienza counsels clients in advertising law under FTC regulations—in all types of marketing: print ads, websites, TV and radio ads, infomercials, telemarketing, consumer testimonials, expert endorsements, contests and free offers, blogs and other social media promotions.

Before practicing law, Ms. Brienza was a university professor in stylistics and 20th Century American and British literature at Carnegie-Mellon and UCLA. She brings her proficiency in language to her regulatory compliance practice in crafting permissible and persuasive descriptions and claims for clients to employ in labels, labeling and advertisements of their products, including patient information sheets and healthcare brochures. As a practicing attorney, she has shared both her regulatory expertise and real world client counseling experience with Arizona State University (ASU) law students, as a frequent guest lecturer in Food Law, Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology courses.

Her practice includes advising clients as to compliance with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations, as well as Food and Drug Administration (FDA) laws and regulations. For instance, Ms. Brienza has evaluated label claims, advertising claims and disclaimers for organic cosmetics, natural toothpastes, and for GMO foods. Given the broad reach of FTC jurisdiction, she has also evaluated and crafted claims, discounted offers, disclaimers, and disclosures for product sales, financial and investment services, and other goods and services. In addition to regulatory compliance and enforcement matters, Ms. Brienza assists in litigation, with particular focus on cease and desist disputes, product liability, and false advertising cases. Her legal work has also included white-collar criminal defense work and lobbying/public policy matters, e.g., for a manufacturer of organic meats, a trade association of supplement companies, and a coalition of medical food companies.


  • Hon. Richard Matsch, U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, 1992,1993


  • "Federal Efforts to Prevent Fraudulent COVID-19 Products," Ryley Carlock & Applewhite Article, April 2020
  • "In Form Contracts, Don't Silence Consumers with Gag Clauses: FTC's Consumer Review Fairness Act," Ryley Carlock & Applewhite, June 2019
  • "The FTC Shines the Light on Hidden Fees and Hidden Disclosures: A Cautionary Tale for Advertisers," Ryley Carlock & Applewhite, May 2018
  • "13 Questions to Ask Yourself About Marketing Claims to Help Avoid an FTC Enforcement Action," Ryley Carlock & Applewhite, June 2016
  • "Dietary Supplements Regulated by 25-plus FDA, FTC Guidelines," The Record Reporter, March 2016
  • "Jarrow: There is a NY State Agenda for 'Supplement Safety' Legislation," NutraIngredients USA, Quote Source, March 2015
  • "Recent FTC Guidelines on Internet Privacy and Security: What are Your Responsibilities?," BBB Bulletin, Winter 2013
  • "Dot Com Disclosures: Summary of March 2013 FTC Guide," Advertising Club of Phoenix Newsletter In The Know: LEGAL EASE, June 2013
  • "Medical Foods Blog," Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Institute, February 2013
  • "The Real Statistics Show Supplement Safety, Jarrow Formulas' Response to the July 1, 2012 Chicago Tribune Article on GMPs," NutraIngredients USA, August 2012
  • "FTC Guidelines & Social Media Advertising," Newsletter of American Advertising Federation—Metro Phoenix, January 2012
  • "Detailed Comment to the FDA: Responding to the NDI Draft Guidance," Jarrow Formulas, Inc. Press Release, Co-Author with Scott Polisky, Esq., December 2011
  • "Dietary Supplements: GMPs,", Spring/Summer 2011
  • "Medical Foods Boom Along With Baby Boomers," Functional Ingredients, February 2010
  • "What to Watch out for in MedWatch Forms for AER Reporting," Natural Foods Merchandiser, September 2009
  • "Brienza's Legal Briefs: A Few Regulatory Updates," Natural Foods Merchandiser, August/September 2009
  • "Chapter 5: FDA Regulation of Foods and Supplements," Food and Drug Law Institute's Nanotechnology & FDA-Regulated Products: The Essential Guide, 2009
  • "Supplement Safety: Safeguards for Consumer Confidence," Natural Foods Merchandiser, March 2009
  • "The Greening of Advertising: FTC Revises its ‘Green Guides' for Environmental, Renewable and Sustainable Claims," Natural Foods Merchandiser, October 2008
  • "Nanotechnology and Supplements: Tiny Particles and Small Changes in FDA Law," American Herbal Products Association Report, October 2008
  • "Nanotechnology: Background on the Science and the Current Approach of the Food and Drug Administration," Food and Drug Law Institute's First Annual Conference on Nanotechnology Law, Regulation and Policy, Co-Author with Griff Kundahl, Esq., February 2008
  • "Reporting to Reestablish Supplement Safety: AER Reporting Requirements," Natural Foods Merchandiser, December 2007
  • "The Nanotech Revolution: The Next Big Thing is Ultra Small," Colorado Biz Magazine: Legal Briefing Special Section, Co-Author with Carolyn McIntosh, Esq., October 2007
  • "Regulating Nanotechnology: What FDA Can Borrow from a Sister Agency," Food and Drug Law Institute's Magazine, September/October 2007
  • "Nanotech 101: A Primer," Colorado Nanotechnology Alliance: Rocky Mountain Nanotechnology Showcase, Co-author with Griff Kundahl, Esq., September 2007
  • "Smoothing Out Confusing Cosmetic Claims," Natural Foods Merchandiser, July 2007
  • "NanoNaturals: Will FDA Regulate New Nanotech Products?," Natural Foods Merchandiser, January 2007
  • "Watch Your Words in Signage and Shelf Talkers," Natural Foods Merchandiser, October 2006
  • "Your Results May Vary: Disclaimers and Disclosures," Natural Foods Merchandiser, July 2006
  • "Keeping an Eye on Supplements," Denver Business Journal, May 2005
  • "Skin Deep: Aloe Vera in Cosmetics and Cosmeceuticals," Aloe Today, Winter 2004
  • "Functional Cosmetics? Cosmetic Drugs? Cosmeceuticals? Skin Creams Turned Inside Out," Natural Foods Merchandiser, September 2004
  • "Medical Foods - A Unique FDA Product Category," Aloe Today, Fall 2004
  • "The Foundations of Dietary Supplements Law," Natural Foods Merchandiser, March 2004
  • "Scientific and Medical Information of Therapeutic Value of Aloe Supplements," Aloe Today, an AloeCorp Newsletter, October 2003
  • "FTC Law and Supplement Advertising: Who's Minding The Store?," Aloe Today, an AloeCorp Newsletter, September 2003
  • "Word of Mouth: Using Testimonials and Endorsements to Sell Supplements," Natural Foods Merchandiser, September 2003
  • "Dietary Supplements and Disease Treatment," Natural Foods Merchandiser, August 2003
  • "Functional Waters: Water Containing Vitamins and Herbs," Natural Foods Merchandiser, March 2003
  • "Got Soy? Soy Protein Health Claim and Soy Supplement Menopause Claims," Natural Foods Merchandiser, November 2002
  • "National Organic Standards? Yes! Organic Dietary Supplements? Yes!," Natural Foods Merchandiser, October 2002
  • "Homeopathic Drugs: When Similar Substances Can Either Hurt or Heal," Natural Foods Merchandiser, July 2002
  • "Legislative Update: A Snapshot of Capitol Hill," Natural Foods Merchandiser, January 2002
  • "New Regulation on Structure and Function Claims for Dietary Supplements," Natural Foods Merchandiser, July 2001
  • "How to Handle an FDA Inspection," Natural Foods Merchandiser, January 2001
  • "Federal Trade Commission Law and Supplement Ads," Natural Foods Merchandiser, May 2000
  • "Regulatory Compliance: Question & Answer Forum," Natural Foods Merchandiser, 1999

Speaking Engagements

  • "Dietary Supplements: FDA Law Basics & the Vexing Hemp/CBD problem," ASU Law School, FDA Law and Biotechnology course, Guest Lecture, November 2019
  • "Current Advertising Law Guidelines to Help Your Clients Steer Clear of FTC Trouble; Some Cautionary Tales," Maricopa County Bar Association CLE, August 2018
  • "Scientific or Suspicious? Supplement Weight Loss Claims under FDA and FTC Law," ASU Law School Biotechnology, Guest Lecture, October 2017
  • "Old Dietary Ingredients (ODIs), especially Probiotics," FDA Public Meeting, October 2017
  • " Scientific or Suspicious? Supplement Weight Loss Claims under FDA and FTC Law," Ryley Carlock & Applewhite CLE, August 2017
  • "Supplementing the Healthspan: Beneficial Anti-Aging Nutraceuticals Regulated by FDA and FTC," Second Annual Workshop on Healthspan Extension Policy and Regulation, Center for Law, Science & Innovation, ASU Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, May 5, 2017
  • "Strategies for [Breach] Prevention," AZ Technology Council Cybersecurity Summit, Panelist, May 4, 2017
  • "Law and Technology Data Privacy Panel: Preparation Pre-Breach," AZ Technology Council Annual Cybersecurity Summit, May 5, 2016
  • "FTC is Watching Dietary Supplement Advertising," AZBio Phoenix Science Museum, February 2012
  • "Medical Foods: Current Regulatory Framework," Dr. Jeffrey Bland's Metagenics, Inc. Workshop, Keynote Speaker, February 2012
  • "Regulatory Framework for Medical Foods," World Health Forum, Harvard Medical School, October 2011
  • "Dietary Supplements are Regulated? Yes, by FDA and FTC," Sandra Day O'Connor School of Law, and Center for Science & Innovation at Arizona State University, October 2011
  • "Making Safe Supplements Even Safer-NDI Notifications and GMPs," Natural Products Expo East, September 2011
  • "Risk Management & Legal Issues," Food and Drug Law Institute's 2nd Annual Conference on Nanotechnology Law, Regulation and Policy, Panel Moderator, February 2009
  • "Nanotechnology In Supplements and Cosmetics: Benefits, Risk Assessment & FDA's Current View," International Institute for Environmental Risk Management Seminar, July 2008
  • "Collaborations for Financial Success: Universities Collaborating with Government and the Private Sector," Nanotechnology & Renewable Energy Summit, Panel Moderator, July 2008
  • "Nanotechnology in Supplements and Cosmetics: Benefits, Risks, FDA's Current View & Future Regulation," Food and Drug Law Institute's 1st Annual Conference on Nanotechnology Law, Regulation and Policy, February 2008
  • "Nanotechnology and FDA Regulations," Rocky Mountain Nanotechnology Showcase, Colorado Nanotechnology Alliance, September 2007
  • "Nanotechnology: FDA and EPA Developments," Colorado Nanotechnology Alliance: Breakfast Briefing, December 2006
  • "Natural Products and the Law," Naturally Boulder Day Conference, October 2006
  • "Healthy and Natural Eating: Functional Foods, Dietary Supplements and Organic Claims," Connected Organizations for a Responsible Economy, May 2006
  • "A New Generation in Safety: Prescription Medical Foods," National Council of Prescription Drug Programs, March 2006
  • "U.S. Regulation of Dietary Supplements and Medical Foods," U.S. Food Law Seminar for the UK Food Law Group, January 2006
  • "FTC Law, Infomercials and Testimonials," New Hope Seminar Expo East, September 2005
  • "The Future of DSHEA: Congressional and Regulatory Perspective," New Hope Seminar, Expo East, September 2005
  • "Smart Supplement Claims Start with FDA Compliance," New Hope Seminar, Expo West, March 2005
  • "The Regulatory ABC's of Cosmeceuticals," Nutracon: Estee Lauder Panel, March 2005
  • "Third-Party Educational Literature for Dietary Supplements," Expo West, March 2004
  • "New Dietary Ingredient Panel: Comments on the NDI Notification Process," American Herbal Products Association Meeting: Expo West, March 2005
  • "Functional Foods: The Use of the FDA Authorized Health Claim Linking Soy Protein and Heart Health," IV Latin American Health Congress, June 2002
  • "Bringing Soy into the Mainstream Market," American Commercialization Institute: Functional Foods Conference, April 2002
  • "Is Aromatherapy a Therapy? When Does a Cosmetic Become a Drug?," Natural Products Expo East, September 2000
  • "Update on Structure/Function Claims for Dietary Supplements," Natural Products Expo East, September 2000
  • "Marketing Your Products Under the Federal Trade Commission's New Guidelines for the Dietary Supplement Industry," Nutrimarket Conference, March 1999


  • Colorado Bar Association
  • Colorado Nanotechnology Alliance
  • Arizona Bar Association
  • American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), 1998-Present
  • Government Relations Committee of AHPA, 1999-2017
  • American Botanical Council, 2000-Present
  • United National Products Association (UNPA), AZ Chapter, 2015-Present
  • American Advertising Federation, Metro Phoenix (Phoenix Ad Club), Board Member, 2011-2013
  • Dietary Supplement Marketers and Manufacturers Association, Co-Counsel for Regulatory Affairs
  • Advisory Board Member, Center for Law, Science & Innovation at Arizona State University College of Law, 2012-2014


  • Recognized in the 2020 edition of AZBusiness Leaders by AZ Big Media
  • Named to Colorado Super Lawyers in the area of Health Care, 2006, 2007, 2009
  • Patton Boggs Pro Bono Award, 1999
  • Colorado Women's History Project Award, 1997
  • Member of Inns of Court, Judge Arraj Chapter, in Denver, 1995-1997