Williams, Walsh & O'Connor, LLC

What types of labeling should products contain?

Virtually every consumer product released onto the market in the United States must be labeled. What that label must list varies by product. Any manufacturer or marketer that fails to properly label an item may be forced to recall and repackage the item in addition to paying fines as high as a couple hundred thousand dollars.

Under the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA), all consumer commodities, or products intended for an individual's consumption, must be labeled with specific information about it.

The product's label must provide a clear and concise description of what it is and what its basic components are. It should also list who manufactures, packs and distributes it and the location where that occurs. The number of units that are in a package, how much they weigh and what their measurements are should be clearly labeled on the product packaging too.

Most labeling doesn't just have to adhere to FPLA standards, but must also meet Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Federal Drug Administration (FDA) or Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines depending on the product.

The CSPC is responsible for ensuring that product labeling is handled correctly as required by the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA), the Poison Prevention Packaging Act (PPPA) and the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA).

Additional labeling requirements may apply depending on the type of product being manufactured or distributed.

As an example, the CPSC may require that a child's product is labeled with its batch number, how it was manufactured and details about how different components used to produce it were sourced.

The FHSA, which regulates labeling on charcoal, may require the names of the chemicals used to produce it to be listed as well as the words "caution," "danger" or "warning". They also require for the product label to highlight how hazardous it is.

In some states, like California, additional labeling is required for manufacturers to remain in compliance with a jurisdiction's laws.

Many manufacturers make the mistake of copying their competitors' labeling without any guarantee that it was done correctly. It often takes them getting fined or sued because someone gets hurt that they realize that there was a problem with their labeling. By contacting a New Haven attorney to file suit, you can protect your right to compensation for your injuries and can keep others from facing the same fate.

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