U.S. FTC Proposes Amendments to Fair Packaging and Labeling Act

Vol. 815 | February 04, 2015

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has proposed amendments to the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA)1, which regulates requirements for labeling of “consumer commodities.” Consumer commodities are defined in the Act as “any food, device, or cosmetic, and any other article, product, or commodity that is customarily produced or distributed for sale through retail sales agencies or instrumentalities for consumption or use by individuals for purposes of personal care or in the performance of services ordinarily rendered within the household, and which usually is consumed or expended in the course of such consumption or use.

The labeling requirements under FPLA are intended to provide consumers with accurate information about the products they are buying for value comparison, such as name and address of manufacturer, and net contents in terms of units, weight or volume; and to prevent unfair or deceptive packaging and labeling of consumer commodities.

The proposed amendment that represents the most potential impact for consumer products is:

  • Reference to State laws: alerting businesses that state laws may apply to products exempt from FPLA requirements.

Additional proposed amendments are as follows:

  • Place of business listing: permit a business to omit the street address if it is listed in any readily accessible, well-known, widely published, and publicly available resource, including but not limited to a printed directory, electronic database, or Web site.
  • Metric conversion chart: delete the current incomplete chart and incorporate by reference the complete one published in National Institute of Standards and Technology Handbook 130, Uniform Laws and Regulations in the areas of legal metrology and engine fuel quality (2015 ed., p. 95) 2.
  • Abbreviations in the required net quantity declaration: clarify to expressly permit exponents with customary inch/pound measurements.
  • Certain retail price sales representations: remove outdated sections addressing when and how a packager or labeler represents a commodity to be “cents off,” an “introductory offer,” or “economy size.”

Deadline for submitting public comments is March 30, 2015.

For questions, please contact:
Dr. Pratik Ichhaporia
Tel: +1.312.906.7720
Email: pratik.ichhaporia@intertek.com





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