Prime Label Consultants was started in 1972 by Elizabeth Bechtold, then a stay-at-home mother with three young children in a Washington, DC suburb. It all began when a relative, who owned a meat company in Minnesota, asked her to take some labels which needed regulatory approval, to the USDA offices in DC, a mere 8 miles from her home. Ever the opportunist, Elizabeth quickly realized that there was a business opportunity in providing this service to other food companies. In 1992, Elizabeth was honored by the Small Business Association as Entrepreneur of the Year, featured on the cover of their magazine. For almost fifty years, Prime Label has been one of the most successful and trusted names in food labeling.
Elizabeth’s daughter, Christina, took over the business in 2012, after getting degrees from Princeton and Stanford Graduate School of Business, followed by a successful career in Silicon Valley’s high-tech industry. Prime Label now has three core business areas: Label consulting; label compliance software; and an annual conference for food labeling professionals. Each of these business segments is independently well regarded and successful, but jointly, have created a highly reputed and trusted Prime Label brand.
The Label Consulting business has grown significantly since 1972. PLC’s first “official” customer was Fairmont Foods in San Leandro, CA, and Elizabeth remembers driving to their offices in her 1931 Model A Coupe. A big step for the company occurred in 1988, when Elizabeth decided to hire food technologists to provide more technical expertise to food company customers as they submitted their labels for compliance reviews. This additional value soon became a big competitive differentiator for Prime Label, and the company grew quickly. Her second Food Technologist hire, Rosalyn Murphy-Jenkins, is now the Director of Labeling and Program Delivery Staff (LPDS) at the USDA, and many other food science alumni are scattered through government and industry. In addition, PLC has created Internship programs with various universities to funnel young food scientist talent into the business. Today, the company has served over 3,500 food company customers, and in recent years, has processed about 10% of the annual volume of labels approved by the USDA.
Prime Label’s Food Label Conference was started in 1989, at the urging of a PLC partner, who suggested that the industry needed a place for food regulators and industry managers for information exchange. This proved to be a great idea, as the Conference attracted over 100 attendees in its first two-day event. Since then, the conference has expanded to become a four-day event, including two additional days of training classes. Now in its 33rd year, the Conference has maintained its core mission as a place of information exchange and education for food label professionals and regulators. Today, PLC has expanded its training offerings beyond the conference and offers several labeling courses for both Regulatory and Marketing professionals.
Prime Label’s software technology for creating compliant food labels is called EZ Form, and was first intended to simplify the application & record keeping process for USDA labels. EZ Form added a Nutrition Navigator in 1992, to automate the new FDA nutrition labeling laws. Going much further than simply supplying data in a formatted box, EZ Form provides serving & claims calculators, in addition to many other compliance expert wizards. Fred Mosher, as it's chief developer, has encyclopedic insight into nutrition labeling nuances. Today, it’s used by many of the largest food companies in creating their labels with confidence.
Prime Label continues to be an innovator in the food compliance industry, even after almost 50 years. Today, interest in food labeling is an ever-higher priority with consumers, regulators and food companies. The industry is buffeted by rapidly changing new food technologies, increasingly competitive food claims and, not surprisingly, growing consumer activism. In this very fluid environment, regulators and food companies have a difficult task finding the right balance between safe, abundant and nutritious food products which consumers can trust. Prime Label is positioned well to help companies traverse this fast-moving landscape. Led by CEO, Christina Bechtold, with a technology and business background, and by General Manager, Dr. Jesse Zuehlke, PhD. In food science and engineering management, Prime Label and its staff are looking forward to revolutionizing how industry automates and ensures compliance in this rapidly changing world. Nothing less than maintaining the faith and trust in America's food supply is at stake.
Christina started at Prime Label as an 8 year old, writing advertising copy and sorting paperclips. In the four decades since, she has been instrumental in the strategic direction of the company, including recently expanding PLC’s service offerings to develop management consulting strategies for the food industry. Her prior experience includes heading up strategy and marketing at BEA Systems, the fastest software startup to reach $1 Billion in annual revenues. She also developed new services and strategies for Sun Microsystems, and assisted in the creation of the Center for Global Development, a Washington DC economics think-tank involved in global debt relief. Christina holds an A.B. from Princeton University and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.
As President of Prime Label Consultants, Jesse is responsible for overseeing all facets of the business. An accomplished executive with deep subject matter expertise, he leads execution of strategic vision while remaining engaged as a principal consultant with many ongoing projects. Jesse is a faculty member at Johns Hopkins University lecturing on Food Packaging Regulation, and serves on the Advisory Board of a sustainable packaging nonprofit organization. Jesse previously spent time managing translational research programs with ILSI North America, now the Institute for the Advancement of Food and Nutrition Sciences. He holds a PhD in Food Science and Masters in Engineering Management from Washington State University and a BS in Microbiology from Michigan State University.
Fred is an independent computer contractor specializing in custom software design for the PC market. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physics and in Applied Mathematics from UC Berkeley, and a Master of Arts degree in Applied Mathematics and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics Education from the University of Maryland. Fred began his career in computers in 1983 and has designed software for inventory control, customer database management, purchase order processing, job cost tracking and analysis, billing, and financial bookkeeping. Fred joined Prime Label Consultants in 1991 and has been designing expert versions of EZForm ever since. Through his work implementing the new nutrition regulations, he has become a leading expert in the field of nutrient content claims and nutrition panel design.
Melody joined Prime Label Consultants as an intern, and accepted a management position with the firm after completing her Masters in Public Administration from Penn State University. She has prior legislative experience working for the Pennsylvania State Senate, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics from Purdue University. While at PLC, she has used her nutrition background leading menu labeling projects for our food service clients. Currently, Melody oversees the business operations of the company and plays a pivotal role in planning and orchestrating events and training offerings hosted by Prime Label Consultants.
Caitlin oversees client programs and regulatory services for food manufacturers, retailers and private brand owners that outsource regulatory food labeling functions to Prime Label Consultants. Prior to joining the firm in 2016, Caitlin led Topco's Regulatory and Nutrition team, and provided guidance related to regulatory developments, nutrition, labeling and marketing compliance in addition to working cross functionally to support various aspects of packaging development and quality assurance processes. In her past experience as a public relations professional, Caitlin’s expertise played an important role for many nutrition-related client programs, ranging from commodity groups to quick serve restaurants. Caitlin is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and holds a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications from Roosevelt University and a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Benedictine University.
Lisa joined Prime Label Consultants in 2016 and is based in Seattle, WA. Lisa previously worked as a Program Manager at Amazon.com, focusing in on global food safety and regulatory compliance programs. She has also worked in regulatory compliance pertaining to dried meat products, specialty crops sanitation, and investigational new drugs. Lisa holds a Master of Science in Food Science and Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from Oregon State University.
Celia joined Prime Label Consultants in 2002. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Food Science and Technology from the University of Alberta. In addition to playing a major role in expediting USDA label approvals, Celia consults with clients on problem labels and provides technical support on labeling issues.
Michelle joined Prime Label Consultants in 2014. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Food Science and Technology from Virginia Tech, and has previously worked as a HACCP Quality Assurance Technician. She is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Computer Science.
Taylor joined Prime Label Consultants in 2016. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics and a Bachelor of Science in Food and Environmental Nutrition from the University of Akron. Taylor is the lead for multiple clients programs, responsible for providing label review and consulting services as well as maintaining day-to-day account functions. Taylor also provides training through PLC Webinars, Seminars and the annual Food Label Conference.
Emily joined Prime Label Consultants in 2018. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Food Science and Industry Management from Brigham Young University. Emily is responsible for executing USDA services including expediting, label review and consulting as well as providing label review and consulting services for multiple client programs on FDA and USDA regulated products.
Marissa joined Prime Label Consultants in 2019. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Food Science and Technology with a Minor in Chemistry from Oregon State University. She previously held multiple positions at Costco Wholesale involving quality assurance, quality control and customs documentation. Prior to her tenure at Costco, Marissa held a quality assurance role at a frozen fruit company. Marissa is responsible for performing a variety of regulatory services including label review and regulatory consulting for FDA regulated products.
Kirby joined Prime Label Consultants in 2021. Kirby is an experienced regulatory professional with background in both USDA and FDA regulatory compliance. Prior to her time at PLC, Kirby worked for Eddy Foods, a premier producer of meat and poultry retail and private label products, and held Senior Food Scientist and Regulatory positions with leading branded and private label food manufacturers, specializing in a variety of categories including ready-to-eat deli salads, dips, spreads, salsas, desserts, beverages and beverage enhancers. Kirby has a Bachelors in Food Science from Texas A&M and an MBA from the University of Houston. Kirby is responsible for performing a variety of regulatory services including label review and regulatory consulting.
Nadia joined Prime Label Consultants in 2016. She worked as a General Manager at a small medical aesthetics facility before joining the team. Nadia graduated from the University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Arts. Nadia is integral to the coordination of PLC's training and events program, including communicating with clients and speakers, developing marketing content, as well as supporting Account Management and Food Technologist functions and various projects across the PLC business.
David joined Prime Label in 2019 as a Client Services Coordinator. He's a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University and worked as a Logistics Account Specialist for Elite Transit Solutions prior to joining PLC. David is on the front line handling communication with current and prospective clients and contributes to overseeing Premium Access accounts and USDA Label Applications.
Elizabeth founded Prime Label Consultants in 1972 and grew it into the premier label consulting firm in the nation's capital. Her innovations — including the first ever labeling conference, first software and first training certification program — have helped thousands of food industry members keep up with a never-ending flow of regulatory change and have helped shape the future of food labeling.
Prime Label is hiring! Headquartered in the Capitol Hill Neighborhood of Washington DC, PLC is a dynamic and exciting workplace and offers competitive salary and benefits. Check below for our current opportunities and contact us today for more information.
Prime Label Consultants is looking for a Regulatory Consultant to join our team, providing technical expertise and client guidance for a broad range of label consulting services.
The ideal candidate will have:
If this sounds like the job for you:
Prime Label Consultants is looking for a Senior Regulatory Consultant to join our team, providing technical expertise and client guidance for a broad range of label consulting services.
The ideal candidate will have:
Prospective candidates with strong understanding of regulatory bodies in food and nutrition labeling with competency in label review and compliance are encouraged to apply! If this sounds like the job for you: