FTC Staff Supports FDA Proposal To Modify Net Quantity of Contents Regulations

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The staff of the Bureaus of Consumer Protection and Economics of the Federal Trade Commission have advised the Food and Drug Administration that significant benefits are likely to result from adoption of the FDA's proposal to revise its Food Labeling Regulations that pertain to net quantity of contents. In its comment to the FDA, staff of the FTC stated, "The proposed revisions to FDA regulations would create a well-defined compliance standard that is readily understood by both enforcement officials and industry members" and "would enhance the ability of federal, state and local officials to maintain a level of enforcement that would provide greater incentives for all manufacturers to increase their compliance with net content labeling requirements." In addition, adoption of the proposed rule would also lead to consistency with the treatment of meat and poultry labeling, which is regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and of non-food consumer product labeling, which is regulated by the FTC.

The FTC's interest in labeling accuracy stems from its role in protecting consumers from deceptive practices. Recently, FTC staff, the Food and Consumer Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Office of Weights and Measures at the National Institute of Science and Technology, and the Office of Food Labeling at FDA, in coordination with state and local weights and measures offices in twenty states, conducted a study of the accuracy of net content labeling of milk and other products. The results of this study were released on July 17, 1997, in a staff report entitled, "Milk: Does it Measure Up?" Weights and measures inspectors, using the inspection procedures incorporated in the proposed FDA rule, found that over 40 percent of milk, juice and other products inspected in retail stores, schools, institutions and dairies were under filled. FTC staff concluded that increased compliance with net content labeling requirements could be achieved in the dairy industry through the implementation of more effective quantity control procedures.

Copies of the documents referenced above are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also 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 NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.

(FTC File No. V970006)

Contact Information

Media Contact:
Office of Public Affairs
Staff Contact:

Elaine Kolish
Bureau of Consumer Protection

Louise Jung
Bureau of Consumer Protection