Labeling laws, such as the Labeling Act of 1967, are determined and administered by agencies at both federal and state levels. These laws will require product manufacturers to provide specific label information and warnings determined by the product category, safety standards, and materials or substances contained in the product.
Agencies responsible for labeling regulations
There are four primary agencies responsible for labeling administration and enforcement.
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC): Regulates consumer products that are not typically regulated by other agencies.
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA): This is the regulatory authority for specific product groups, such as cosmetics and foods. They determine what disclosures and hazards should be on labels as well as how and where labels will need to be fixed on products.
- Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC): Enforces packaging, labeling, and consumer disclosure provisions on a number of consumer product types.
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service (CBP): Enforces the labeling laws of goods imported into the United States.
The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1967
The primary law that dictates labeling in the U.S. is The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1967, which requires that all consumer commodities be properly labeled. Label requirements under the Act include:
- The type of commodity that the package holds
- The amount of the contents contained in the package.
- The name and location of the manufacturer or distributor.
In addition to the above requirements, the Act also provides for regulations deemed to protect consumers against any deception when it comes to packaging contents, product ingredients, prices, and the size of the packaging. The Act uses the Globally Harmonized System for classifying chemicals and standards set by the Office of Weights and Measures of the National Institute of Standards and Technology for measurements.
Other laws that affect labeling standards
There are a number of other laws that affect labeling standards in the U.S. Many of these Acts focus on specific products or materials used in the manufacture of the product and provide for additional requirements above those set in The Packaging and Labeling Act of 1967.
- Federal Hazardous Substance Act (FHSA): This is a federal law that will fall under the administration of the CPSC. The Act requires that hazardous products must be labeled as such, and the label must include the possible harmful effects of coming into contact with the substance as well as any steps to be taken in the event exposure occurs.
- Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA): This Act falls under the protection of the EPA and requires labeling of chemicals coming into the U.S. to determine if they pose an unreasonable risk to people’s health or the health of the environment.
- Poison Prevention Packaging Act (PPPA): Child-resistant packaging and labels for items that could be potentially poisonous is the result of the passing of the PPPA.
- Labeling of Hazardous Art Material Act (LHAMA): Art materials are required to undergo a toxicology review and have the potential adverse health effects and hazards listed on the label under the LHAMA.
- Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA): This Act provides labeling and regulation requirements for the sale and distribution of pesticides. The Act sets forth the requirement for child-protective packaging and labeling requirements, such as listing possible hazards and necessary first aid if exposed.
- OSHA Hazard Communication Standard: The standard covers material used in the workplace to ensure that all chemicals are labeled, and material safety data sheets are provided for each chemical used by the company.
The Packaging and Labeling Act of 1967, along with other packaging and labeling Acts, set the standards for labeling to protect the consumer against fraud, adverse health conditions, and possible dangers from product use.