FTC Sharpens Focus on Textile Rules for Manufacturers
The FTC has made a point of enforcing regulations surrounding “Made in USA” claims and this instance could indicate an expansion of those efforts to pursue companies selling clothing and linens that omit country-of-origin labeling or have false labels.
The manufacturer, Thomaston Mills, incorrectly marketed bed and bath linens made from imported textiles by making broad claims that its products were made in the United States and omitting country-of-origin information from labels and online marketing materials. Products included in the Textile Products Identification Act and Textile Rules are subject to mandatory country-of-origin labeling requirements, which apply to products originated in the US or abroad. Additionally, the rules require marketers to disclose product origin in mail-order advertising and online materials.
In response to the FTC’s investigation, Thomaston Mills implemented an immediate fix to comply with the country-of-origin violation through altering advertising and online marketing language; updated trade show signage; trained employees to properly label products and marketing and advertising materials; and increased efforts to ensure accuracy of third-party retailer claims. After these steps were taken, the FTC decided to forgo the investigation.
Manufacturers should be wary of compliance with textile rules as it applies to advertising and marketing material. While this case dealt with bedding and bath linens, the requirements also apply to articles of clothing that are made from yarn and fabric.
Specifically, US-based manufacturers should take note that regardless of where the products are created, the origin of the materials used to create the product must be included in country-of-origin labeling.