On May 9, the Federal Trade Commission Chairman and Commissioners testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce on a number of issues. Reaffirming a previous commitment for increased scrutiny of deceptive “Made in USA” advertising, FTC Chairman Simons told Congress the agency plans to hold a workshop
The FDA and FTC jointly issued warning letters to three companies selling CBD products online. The letters allege violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”) and the Federal Trade Commission Act (“FTCA”). Although this is the first time the FDA and FTC have issued joint warning letters relating to CBD, the FDA…
This morning, the FDA announced its intention to engage in greater oversight of the dietary supplement industry. The announcement also conveyed that the Agency had sent 12 warning letters and five advisory letters to companies over the prior two weeks. Some of these letters were jointly issued by FDA and the Federal Trade Commission, focusing…
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized cultivation and processing of industrial hemp and various by-products. One hemp-based derivative of considerable interest to manufacturers of personal care products, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and OTC drugs is cannabidiol (“CBD”). As industry races to commercialize and advertise CBD, it’s important to understand the regulatory hurdles that remain. Ad law partner, …
About a year ago, the SEC issued a warning to celebrities and social influencers who promoted Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) on social media, noting that such promoters are subject to federal securities laws. Apparently, at least two celebrities weren’t paying attention because they recently settled the SEC’s first cases regarding promoting ICOs without proper disclosures.…
On November 27, the FTC Commissioners testified on a range of issues before the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security. One excerpt that caught our attention was their comments on “Made in USA” advertising and the potential for increased scrutiny.
Here’s an excerpt of the Q&A between Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV) and the FTC Commissioners (emphasis added):
CAPITO: Okay, last question I have on fraudulent marketing would be the… fraudulent Made in America label. How prevalent is this? And what are some of the means you’re going to try to curb this practice?
SIMONS: This is fairly prevalent. We get hundreds of these, hundreds of complaints a year, that people are improperly using the Made in the USA label. We are committed to investigating those, and usually a lot of times what happens is the firm, the company doesn’t even realize that it’s a violation. So we explain to them it’s a violation and they stop it.
Sometimes companies do it intentionally, sometimes we tell them and they don’t stop and those people we sue. And one of the things that we’re exploring now, as a general rule, we have only gotten injunctive relief in cases like this previously. Now we’re exploring whether we can find a good case that would be appropriate for monetary relief to serve as an additional deterrent.
CHOPRA: I just want to add here that I think there are manufacturers out there who hire American workers and who purposely do that because they want to put the flag on their product. And for those who lie, this cheapens the Made in the USA label so it’s not just hurting American consumers, it’s hurting every American manufacturer who is trying to do right. So I want us to be much more aggressive with this, actually. And if you and Senator Cortez-Masto want to team up, finding civil penalties for some of these bad actors, we can make sure we increase compliance levels. And I got to tell you — right now there’s a country of origin labeling issues in agriculture, country of origin issues in product marketing. We have to do more to put a stop to this because this is extremely unfair to honest companies.
California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law Assembly Bill 2632, which amended California’s slack fill law to create several new exemptions, hopefully providing some relief from the plague of slack fill lawsuits that has hit the food and beverage industry, among others, particularly hard in recent years. For those who are unfamiliar, slack…
The California Food, Drug, and Medical Device Task Force announced a settlement this week with Goop, the lifestyle brand founded by Gwyneth Paltrow, which we’ve written about here and here. The complaint alleges that Goop made false and misleading representations regarding the effects or attributes of three products—the Jade Egg, Rose Quartz Egg, and…
The FTC recently finalized updates to its Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries, which provide the FTC’s interpretation of the jewelry marketing rules found in 16 C.F.R. §23. The FTC hosted a roundtable in 2013, which we wrote about here, and considered stakeholder comments prior to finalizing the new Guides. The updated Guides address a number of topics, including the surface application of precious metals, below-threshold previous metal alloys, gemstone products, and “cultured” diamonds.
Some highlights of the changes include advising that jewelry marketers may:
- Qualify if a coated product only has a service layer of a precious metal;
- Advertise a product’s precious metal coating to assure reasonable durability;
- Disclose the purity of coatings made with precious metal alloys;
- Qualify a product’s gold karat fineness or a parts per thousand (PPT) designation for silver products that have less than 925 PPT;
- Use alternative words and phrases for man-made stones (where it shares the same properties as the named stone) if they clearly and conspicuously convey that the product is not a mined stone.