FTC News on Made in USA Claims
As previously blogged about in “FTC Defense Attorney on Made in USA Compliance,” the Federal Trade Commission’s Made in USA policy applies to all products advertised or sold in the United States, except for those specifically subject to country-of-origin labeling by other laws. Manufacturers and marketers should also be familiar with other statutes and requirements, including, but not limited to, the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act and Wool Products Labeling Act.
The Textile Act and Rules provide guidance on what marketers must consider before they disseminate U.S. origin claims.
The FTC recently announced the closure of an investigation into claims made by Thomaston Mills about products, including towels and bedding, covered by the Textile Products Identification Act. According to the Commission, there were issues relating to mandatory country-of-origin labeling requirements.
According to the FTC, while the company performs processes domestically, such as sewing and cutting, there was a failure to disclose to consumers that products were made with imported fabric. As is customary with FTC U.S. origin claims investigations by FTC CID attorneys, the respondent developed and implemented a corrective action plan that included, without limitation, updating marketing materials and labels, monitoring third party retailers and training personnel on applicable legal regulatory requirements.
Ultimately, the FTC closed the investigation.
In its closing letter, the FTC stated that “it is appropriate for Thomaston Mills to promote the fact that it employs workers, performs certain processes and makes a particular line of products in the United States.” “However, marketing materials that cover imported products or products made from imported fabrics must make clear disclosures in compliance with the Textile Act and Textile Rules,” the Commission stated.