Is It Truly Made in the USA?
There’s a good reason why President Abraham Lincoln was nicknamed “Honest Abe”. He was honest about everything he did. Fast forward a few hundred years: It’s not hard to imagine what Lincoln might have thought about the honesty of American companies touting a “Made in the USA” label on products that aren’t.
The FTC recently settled a “Made in the USA” case with E.K. Ekcessories. The company deceptively touted their outdoor equipment products as “Truly Made in the USA”, and misled consumers into thinking they were buying products that were 100 percent American-made. As it turns out, many of the components and materials of the products the company produced originated in other countries.
The FTC has laws and guidelines to help businesses know when it’s appropriate to use the Made in USA label. That, in turn, helps consumers trust the labels they see.
- A company that makes a “Made in the USA” or other United States origin claim for its product should be able to prove that all or almost all of that product was made in the United States. Products with these labels should contain virtually no material or components from other countries.
- In general, products processed or finished in the USA that contain materials from other countries should not be labeled “Made in the USA” without further explanation. Look for qualifying statements near the claim that explain which components of the product come from the USA.
- By law, most textiles and wool products must identify where they were made. If there isn’t a label for these types of products, try asking the retailer who may have more information. Keep in mind, however, that many products are not required to be labeled, nor are retailers required to disclose or mention information relating to such products.
- The law requires automobiles made since October 1, 1994, for sale in the U.S., to have a label stating where the car was assembled. The label also must specify the percentage of equipment made in the U.S. and Canada, and the country where the engine and transmission were made.
Have a feeling that a product you bought recently isn’t “Made in USA” as labeled? File a complaint with the FTC.