The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will hold a public workshop to consider "Made in USA" product claims on September 26, 2019. In advance, FTC is requesting comments on several questions, including: (i) "What rationales underlie consumer preferences for products made in USA?"; (ii) "When consumers see product advertisements or labels stating or implying that products are 'Made in USA' or the equivalent, what amount of U.S. parts and labor do they assume are in the products?"; and (iii) "Do firms that advertise their products as 'Made in USA' charge higher prices than their competitors whose products are not advertised in this way?"
A plaintiff has filed two similar lawsuits against H.J. Heinz Co. and Rockstar, Inc. alleging the companies’ products wrongfully bear “Made in the USA” label claims because they contain “foreign ingredients.” Alaei v. Rockstar, Inc., No. 15-2959 (S.D. Cal., filed December 31, 2015); Alaei v. H.J. Heinz Co., No. 15-2961 (S.D. Cal., filed December 31, 2015). Heinz 57® sauce, one complaint argues, is misrepresented as manufactured in the United States because some of its ingredients, including “turmeric, tamarind extract, and jalapenos, among other ingredients,” are “not from the United States.” Similarly, Rockstar’s Sugar Free beverage, described as “Made in the USA” on the label, contains “various amounts of taurine, guarana seed extract, and milk thistle extract, which, among other ingredients in Defendants’ products, are not from the United States.” These foreign ingredients, the complaint argues, are problematic because they are not subject to the same strict regulatory requirements and “are…
Anheuser-Busch has settled a class action alleging that the company misrepresented Beck’s® beer as brewed in Germany after a 2012 move to a St. Louis brewing facility. Marty v. Anheuser-Busch Cos., LLC, No. 13-23656 (S.D. Fla., preliminary approval entered June 23, 2015). The uncapped settlement will provide payouts to U.S. purchasers of bottles or packages of Beck’s® since May 2011, with a $50 limit for households with proofs of purchase and $12 limit for those without. Anheuser-Busch will include the phrase “Brewed in USA” or “Product of USA” on the bottles, boxes and website for at least five years. Plaintiffs’ attorneys will receive $3.5 million. Details about a similar lawsuit Anheuser-Busch settled about the origin of Kirin® beer in January 2015 appear in Issue 550 of this Update. Issue 570
Two consumers have filed a putative class action against Anheuser-Busch in California state court alleging that the company misuses the “Product of U.S.A.” claim on Busch® beer cans because the product is brewed with imported hops. Nixon v. Anheuser-Busch Cos., LLC, No. 15-544985 (Cal. Super. Ct., San Francisco Cty., filed March 27, 2015). The complaint asserts that Anheuser-Busch charged premium prices for beer made in the United States despite using imported hops, or “a significant portion” of the beer. The plaintiffs allege unfair competition and a violation of California’s “Made in USA” law. They seek to represent a statewide class of purchasers and to receive damages and an injunction. Issue 561