Last week the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced it had issued a complaint and proposed consent order against Instant Brands LLC for allegedly marketing products as “Made in the USA,” when they were actually made in China. Instant Brands, which manufactures Pyrex-brand products that include a range of mostly glass baking and cooking accessories, has already agreed to the settlement, which requires a payment of a monetary judgment of $129,416.
The company also agreed to three marketing restrictions:
- The FTC restricts the company from making unqualified U.S.-origin claims unless the product’s final assembly or processing, and all significant processing, takes place in the United States, and that all or virtually all ingredients or components of the product are made and sourced in the U.S.
- The agency requires that qualified “Made in USA” claims be accompanied by a disclosure regarding the presence of foreign parts, ingredients or components, and processing
- For any U.S.-assembly claims, it must be the case that the product is last substantially transformed in the U.S., principal assembly takes place in the U.S., and U.S. assembly operations are substantial
The brand has for some time touted its Pyrex products as “made in the USA heritage” and “Made in USA,” and made other, similar claims, like “American as apple pie.” However, during the COVID-19 pandemic and higher demand for its products, Pyrex shifted its production of certain measuring cup sets from the U.S. to China.
The brand continued to market certain products (a three-piece and four-piece measuring cup set) as “Made in USA” on Amazon while the cups were imported from China and fulfilled 110,000 such Amazon orders. More broadly, the company had continued implying that its Pyrex products were still all of U.S. origin.
Notably, this action is only the latest since FTC finalized its Made in USA Labeling Rule in August 2021, and highlights FTC’s continuing commitment to monitoring the market for marketers’ inability to meet those standards. This is especially the case given that the rule allows FTC to seek monetary penalties. In today’s overstressed supply chain, where companies constantly need to reevaluate how to get their products to their consumers, even temporary alterations to a product supply chain can affect how it should be marketed. Supply chain disruptions will not excuse deceptive “Made in USA” claims.