Made in the U.S.A. Legal Standard

businessman signing a contract

One of the principal sources for standards are FTC rules or guidelines.  Under the FTC standards,  “For a product to be called Made in USA, or claimed to be of domestic origin without qualifications or limits on the claim, the product must be “all or virtually all” made in the U.S. The term “United States,” as referred to in the Enforcement Policy Statement, includes the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories and possessions. What does “all or virtually all” mean? “All or virtually all” means that all significant parts and processing that go into the product must be of U.S. origin. That is, the product should contain no — or negligible — foreign content.”

Mislabeled products may subject the advertiser to liability under state consumer fraud acts, as well as other law.

False or Misleading Made in the U.S.A. Claims

A company which proclaims its product is made in the U.S.A. must live up to that promise.  The FTC has filed actions and private enforcement is equally possible.  For example one case prohibits ae company from making unqualified Made in USA claims for any product unless it can show that final assembly or processing – and all significant processing – take place in the United States, and that all or virtually all ingredients or components are made and sourced in the U.S.   If the claim is qualified, the company should provide  clear and conspicuous disclosures about the extent to which the products contain foreign parts, ingredients, or processing.

If you are aware of a deceptive  Made in USA claims on products or packaging, in ads, on your website, or in marketing materials? Contact our office and read the FTC’s Enforcement Policy Statement on U.S. Origin Claims for compliance guidance.



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