Last week, the FTC released an updated version of its Complying with the Made in USA Standard business guide. The heart of the guidance remains the same: if you expressly or implicitly state that a product is Made in the USA without any qualification, the product must be all or virtually all” made in the USA. That generally means that:

  • the product’s final assembly or processing must occur in the USA;
  • all significant processing that goes into the product must occur in the USA; and
  • all or virtually all ingredients or components of the product must be made and sourced in the USA.

Here are a few things that are new in the guidance:

  • The FTC made updates to incorporate the Made in USA Labeling Rule, which codified the all or virtually all” standard for product labels in 2021. Marketers may now be subject to civil penalties if they make unqualified Made in the USA” claims on labels for a product that is not all or virtually all” made in the USA, including online or in catalogs.
  • The FTC adds that companies have an ongoing obligation to review their substantiation to make sure the claims remain accurate. If something changes and a company can no longer support a Made in the USA” claim, the company must update its marketing materials. (Both this post and this post illustrate that principle.)
  • The FTC notes that when companies make qualified claims that a product includes both foreign and domestic parts, the companies must be able to substantiate that the parts that designated as being domestic are all or virtually all” made in the USA.

The FTC also updated some of its examples to better illustrate how the all or virtually all” principles apply in different circumstances and made some of the examples more current. For example, an example that currently refers to a microchip used to refer to a floppy drive.” (Younger readers may need look up that term.)

A blog post announcing the new guidance reminds readers that the FTC means business when it comes to Made in the USA” claims. That’s why we keep suing companies that don’t play by the rules, assessing penalties where appropriate, and returning money to consumers when we can.” If you haven’t reviewed your claims recently, now may be a good time to do that.