16 CFR Parts 500-503: Rules, Regulations, Statements of General Policy or Interpretation and Exemptions Under the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act ("FPLA" or "Act") #00022

Submission Number:
John Nichols
Initiative Name:
16 CFR Parts 500-503: Rules, Regulations, Statements of General Policy or Interpretation and Exemptions Under the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act ("FPLA" or "Act")
Matter Number:


Dear Sir: It is with interest that I read through the proposals for fair labelling and which to a lesser extent impact on the units used on the various merchandise sold in the United States. Let me begin by telling you of a recent problem on an overseas trip, which highlights some of these points raised in your information and that you are trying to change for the better, I was travelling in China with a group of US citizens, part of the group included a US Army Officer, his wife and children. They serve overseas, like millions of Americans. One morning, about 2 am, I got a desperate call from the officer regarding labelling on products. His child needed a product that was measured in grams per kilogram of body mass. He was concerned to get the units correct and not hurt his child. Between the Chinese hotel staff and myself we sorted out the correct dose. This type of accident can be fatal, and really there is absolutely no need for this type of problem. Secondly, I purchase Diet Dr Pepper at a major food store that sells in bulk. They sell the 355 ml cans (10.72 litres in the pack) and the 500 ml bottles (12 l) side by side. The cans are in packs of 32 and the bottles in packs of 24. The cans cost less than $10 and the bottles are more than $12 dollars. The system uses unit price per bottle for the bottles and cents per ounce for the cans. One cannot directly tell that there is more than a few percentage points difference in the cost between an identical product. This type of marketing is deceptive, but not unusual. Thirdly, milk is sold in 1 gallon bottles, if you notice most of the bottles have an indent in the side to turn the bottle from 4 litres to 1 gallon. It is a reasonably trivial exercise to show that this impacts on the number of trucks carting milk to cities and as the deaths in motor vehicles is usually measured in million kilometres travelled or some such unit, the increase in truck traffic means an increase in truck driver fatalities. Of course these deaths are buried in the normal motor vehicle fatality statistics and are not evident. If you care to look, one can I believe see one of these indents in the milk bottle used in the first Lethal Weapon movie in 1987. Almost twenty years is sufficient time to make a change that is long overdue. Finally, 4 gallons may theoretically equal 1.89 litres, but the second unit implies an accuracy of +- 0.005 litres, which is equivalent to 0.17 oz. There is a need for the units used to reflect the actual accuracy of the measurements, one is of course reminded of the famous match box exercise in terms of the count of matches, selling only 49 matches in a box labelled 50 is really a nice profitable exercise. Some times it takes an effort to do the right thing, I have no doubt what is the right thing for our children and elderly, I trust you may make your way a little way down this path in your acceptance of these requirements you place on public exhibition. It is not a difficult change, merely a slightly inconvenient one, if my slight inconvenience saves even one life it is worth it. One can of course argue that these points are minor and really the US people are free to choose. In my case the choice is clear as I outlined above and also to support the soldiers whom I teach.