FTC Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Amendments to Wool and Fur Products Labeling Rules

For Release

The Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comment on proposed amendments to streamline the Wool and Fur Rules. Comments are also solicited on issues relating to the goal of harmonizing labeling requirements among North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) countries. Comments on two Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPR) will be accepted until Jan. 22, 1997.

The Fur Rules require fur products to be labeled to identify the name of the animal that produced the fur; the country of origin of the fur; the name or Commission-issued registered identification number of the manufacturer or dealer; and whether the fur is natural, bleached, dyed or otherwise artificially colored. The Wool Rules require products to be marked with the generic name and percentage by weight of each fiber present, the name or Commission-issued RN of the manufacturer or other responsible company, and the country where the product was manufactured or processed.

In May 1994, as part of the ongoing regulatory review of all of its rules and guides, the Commission published Federal Register notices seeking public comment on a number of issues pertaining to both the Wool and Fur Rules. Pursuant to that review, the Commission has concluded that the rules continue to be valuable to both consumers and companies, and seeks comment on the following proposed changes:

WOOL RULES

Proposed amendments to streamline the Wool Rules include:

  • eliminating the requirement to disclose the functional significance of a named fiber that constitutes less than 5% of a product's fiber weight; and
  • eliminating the requirement to state "Fiber Content on Reverse Side" when the content is contained on the back of the label.

Concerning the goal of harmonizing labeling requirements among NAFTA countries, public comments are solicited on:

  • the feasibility of an information registration system to be shared by the United States, Canada and Mexico;
  • use of abbreviations for fiber names; and
  • use of abbreviations and symbols for country-of-origin labeling.

FUR RULES

The FTC seeks comment on a proposal to raise the minimum cost of fur trim that may be contained in a fur product and, as a result, exempted from most requirements of the Fur Rules. The Commission proposes to raise the current $20 figure, last adjusted for inflation in 1969, to $85 or more. In addition, the Commission solicits comment on the feasability of implementing a system of shared information among the three NAFTA countries.

Further, as it applies under both the Wool and Fur Rules, the Commission seeks comment on a proposal to update the FTC's Registered Identification Number (RN) system by enabling the FTC to cancel the RN of a company that has changed its name, address or legal business status, but failed to notify the FTC of the change. This proposal is made in connection with an effort to update the Commission’s RN database. In addition, the Commission has adopted some minor, non-substantive amendments to the Fur Rules, which are announced in a separate Federal Register Notice.

The two NPR’s seeking comment on the above proposals will be published in the Federal Register on December 24, 1996. Comments should be submitted to: Office of the Secretary, Federal Trade Commission, Room H-159, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. Submissions should be marked "Rules and Regulations under the Fur Act, 16 CFR Part 301 -- Comment," or "Rules and Regulations under the Wool Act, 16 CFR Part 300 -- Comment," respectively. If possible, submit comments both in writing and on a computer diskette in Word Perfect or other identified word processing format.

The Commission vote to publish the two NPR’s was 5-0.

Copies of the NPR’s are available on the Internet at the FTC’s World Wide Web Site at: http://www.ftc.gov or by calling 202-326-3627. FTC documents are also available from the FTC’s Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC’s NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.

Carol Jennings
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-3010

or

Bret S. Smart
Los Angeles Regional Office
11000 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 13209
Los Angeles, California 90024
310-235-4040

(Wool rules-- FTC Matter No. P948402)

(Fur rules -- FTC Matter No. P948403)

Contact Information

Media Contact:
Brenda A. Mack
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2182
Staff Contact: