Maker Of Krylex, Hammer-Tite, Kwix Fix Glues Stops Claiming Products “Made in USA”

Anyone can claim that their product is “Made in the U.S.A.,” but unless that product is actually manufactured in America from materials made in America, you might be breaking the law. Eight months after being sued by the Federal Trade Commission for claiming its glues are “proudly made in the U.S.A.” even though the products were made using foreign-sourced chemicals, the manufacturer has agreed to stop this faux patriotic boasting.

The FTC sued Chemence Inc. — a company incorporated in Ohio, with offices in Georgia, the UK, Spain, France, and Malaysa — for marketing a number of glue products (including Kwik Fix, Hammer Tite, and Krylex) as “Made in the U.S.A.” despite the fact that, according to investigators, more than half of the key ingredients in these products were sourced from outside the U.S.

According to the agreement [PDF] released this morning, Chemence has agreed to stop making “Made in U.S.A.” claims on products that don’t meet known federal guidelines for this sort of marketing claim. If the company does make this type of boast, it must include a clear and conspicuous disclosure about the extent to which a product contains foreign parts, ingredients, and/or processing.

The company, which does not admit or deny any of the FTC’s allegations, must also pay a $220,000 judgment.

There is no approval or pre-market vetting process for products making “Made In U.S.A.” claims, but there are federal standards that clearly set out what this claim should indicate: That the product is manufactured in the U.S. using materials that were also made in the U.S.

If a product is wholly (or mostly) manufactured in the U.S. from materials sourced globally, it can be marketed as “Assembled in the U.S.A.,” though again there are conditions on that claim. The FTC gives the example of a computer whose parts are made and compiled outside the country, only to have those components quickly screwed together stateside. That device would likely not meet the “Assembled in the U.S.A.” standard.

Because many consumers may choose a product, or be willing to pay more for an item, that is made in America, a company that makes a false or misleading “Made in the U.S.A.” claim could be in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive business practices.

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