The Federal Trade Commission issued a closing letter in its latest "Made in USA" investigation, deciding not to pursue enforcement action against mop manufacturer J.W. Manufacturing.
J.W. Manufacturing made unqualified U.S. national origin claims on marketing materials for its mops despite the fact that the products incorporated a "significant" amount of imported fibers, the agency said. Such claims "likely suggest to consumers that all products advertised in those materials are 'all or virtually all' made in the United States," Julia Solomon Ensor, a staff attorney with the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, wrote to the company.
The "all or virtually all" standard has been enforced by the Commission since its 1997 U.S. Origin Claims Enforcement Policy Statement, which made clear that "Made in USA" claims can only be made when all significant parts and processing are of U.S. origin, with negligible or zero foreign content. In recent years, the agency has vigorously enforced the standard in cases ranging from jeans to accessories.
J.W. Manufacturing managed to avoid further action, as the FTC decided not to pursue the matter after the company proposed a remedial action plan to clarify its representations.
"This plan includes: (1) updating the company's website to clarify that some mops incorporate imported fibers; (2) placing stickers that read 'Made in USA with US and Foreign Materials' over unqualified claims on affected packaging; (3) ordering new packaging with qualified claims; and (4) contacting third-party distributors to provide updated claims and product descriptions," according to the agency's closing letter.
To read the FTC's letter to J.W. Manufacturing, click here.
Why it matters: To avoid being on the receiving end of a similar letter from the Commission, advertisers should ensure that when making "Made in USA" claims, the products at issue are "all or virtually all" made in the United States, with negligible or nonexistent foreign content.