The Federal Trade Commission today announced the following actions:
Consent agreements given final approval: Following a public comment period, the Commission has approved final consent agreements with the following entities: Federated Department Stores, Inc. and R.J. Reynolds - Winston Cigarettes. The Commission action makes the consent orders binding on the respondents.
The Commission vote to approve the consent agreement in the matter of Federated Department Stores, Inc. was 4-0; (FTC Matter No. C-3893; see news release dated May 28, 1999; media contact is Howard Shapiro, 202-326-2176; staff contact is Randall H. Brook, 206-220-4487).
The Commission vote to approve the consent agreement in the matter of R.J. Reynolds - Winston Cigarettes was 4-0; (FTC Matter No. C-3892; see news release dated March 3, 1999; media contact is Victoria Streitfeld, 202-326-2178; staff contacts are Mark Eichorn, 202-326-3053; and Lisa B. Kopchik, 202-326-3139).
Commissioner Orson Swindle issued a concurring statement in this matter, in which he stated:
I have voted to issue this consent order because the remedies, including a corrective statement in Winston advertisements for one year, are warranted by the facts of this case. The nationwide advertising campaign for "no additives" Winston cigarettes, launched in August 1997, is unusually extensive. Based on my reading of the record, I am convinced that many consumers interpret ads containing express "no additives" claims to mean that Winstons are not as harmful as other cigarettes, and such a health claim is presumably important to consumers in their purchasing decisions. Based on the extent and magnitude of the ongoing ad campaign and the demonstrated strength of the implied health claim, I am willing to infer that the claim will linger in the minds of consumers for one year absent a corrective statement. I am particularly concerned about a lingering effect of the ads because of the well-recognized health risks of smoking. Under these circumstances, I support the limited corrective advertising remedy contained in the consent order.
Application for approval of transactions: In the matter of Albertson's/American Stores, the Commission has granted the application of Certified Grocers of California for the sale of Lucky Store No. 286 in Thousand Oaks, California to Ziff Family Markets, Inc. The application was filed on July 12, 1999 pursuant to the proposed order in this matter.
The Commission vote to approve the transaction was 4-0; (FTC File No. 981 0339; see news release dated June 22, 1999 and related FYI dated July 28, 1999; media contact is Victoria Streitfeld, 202-326-2718; staff contact is Daniel Ducore, 202-326-2526).
As part of its ongoing review of Commission rules and regulations, the FTC will publish shortly an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) in the Federal Register regarding the Trade Regulation Rule concerning the Labeling and Advertising of Home Insulation (R-value Rule), 16 CFR Part 460; File No. R811001.
The purpose of the rulemaking is to streamline and increase the benefits of the rule to consumers and sellers, minimize its costs, and respond to the development and utilization of new technologies to make American homes more energy efficient and less costly to operate. The ANPR: 1) summarizes public comments the Commission received in response to a request for comments about the need for the rule and its benefits and burdens; 2) proposes amendments to recognize technological advances in R-value testing and specimen preparation procedures, and to clarify the rule's requirements; and 3) solicits comments on the proposed amendments and additional issues.
The vote to publish the ANPR in the Federal Register was 4-0; (media contact is Howard Shapiro, 202-326-2176; staff contact is Kent Howerton, 202-326-3013).
Miscellaneous matters: The Commission has voted to repeal the disclosure provisions of Rule 2.41(f) of its Rules of Practice.
Rule 2.41(f) sets forth procedures for reviewing applications for approval of divestitures, acquisitions or similar transactions when such transactions are subject to Commission review under outstanding orders. Subsection (f)(3) requires disclosure of communications concerning prior approval applications that are made by outside parties-both applicants and third parties-to Commissioners' offices. These communications must then be placed on the public record, subject to confidentiality determinations. For oral communications, memoranda must be produced for the record "setting forth the full content of such communication and the circumstances thereof."
Through the publication of a final rule in the Federal Register, a procedural amendment of Rule 2.41(f) repeals the legally unnecessary and burdensome requirement for disclosure on the public record of communications concerning an application from persons outside the Commission to Commissioners and their advisers.
The Commission vote to repeal the disclosure provisions of Rule 2.41(f) of the Rules of Practice was 4-0; (FTC File No. P859907; staff contact is John D. Graubert, FTC Office of the General Counsel, 202-326-2186).
Copies of the documents mentioned in this FYI are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 877-FTC Help (877-382-4357); TDD 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.