It seems to be another star-spangled banner year for the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and its crackdown on certain “Made in USA” claims. In 2016, the FTC cited 29 companies for their misleading “Made in USA” claims. With the year’s halfway mark behind us, reports indicate that the FTC has similarly warned 11 companies for their use of the all-American claim on a range of products, including pillows, coffee makers and air purifiers.
To make a “Made in USA” advertising claim, the FTC believes that “all or virtually all” portions of the advertised product must be made in the United States. After the FTC stepped up its enforcement efforts, some companies tempered their origin of manufacturing claims with appropriate disclosures, including clarifications that a product may contain foreign components, or simply that the product may be assembled in the United States. As we previously reported, however, the FTC appears to be keeping a close eye on those claims as well.
TAKEAWAY: Advertisers that make manufacturing origin claims, including “Made in USA” claims, should carefully review the source of origin for products, including all sub-components—particularly in light of the current enforcement climate.