The Federal Trade Commission has taken action against Instant Brands, manufacturer of Pyrex-brand kitchen and home products, for falsely claiming that all its popular glass measuring cups were made in the United States during a time some measuring cups were imported from China. The FTC’s proposed order against Instant Brands would stop the company from making deceptive claims about products being “Made in USA” and require them to pay a monetary judgment.
“Consumers rely on marketers to make truthful ‘Made in USA’ claims,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “If marketers move their manufacturing outside the United States, even temporarily, they must update their advertising to make it accurate.”
According to the FTC’s complaint, Instant Brands faced increased demand for its glass measuring cups in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when consumer interest in home baking spiked. Pyrex has long used the U.S. origin of its products as a selling point. By early 2021, the company was not able to meet the demand for certain measuring cup sets sold on Amazon with cups produced in the United States. From March 2021 to May 2022, Instant Brands produced some Pyrex cups in China.
When the production shifted to China, the company continued to market the Chinese-made products on Amazon as “Made in USA,” despite the cups themselves being marked “Made in China.” While the Chinese cups were being sold the company also continued its marketing that implied all Pyrex cups were of U.S. origin, with claims about the company’s “made in the USA heritage,” and that its products were “American as Apple Pie.”
All told, more than 110,000 units of the Chinese-made measuring cup sets were sold to U.S. consumers as being “Made in USA.”
The FTC’s order against Instant Brands, which the company has agreed to, includes a number of requirements about the claims they make:
- Restriction on unqualified claims: The company will be prohibited from making unqualified U.S.-origin claims for any product, unless it can show that the product’s final assembly or processing—and all significant processing—takes place in the U.S., and that all or virtually all ingredients or components of the product are made and sourced in the U.S.
- Requirement for qualified claims: The company is required to include in any qualified Made in USA claims a clear and conspicuous disclosure about the extent to which the product contains foreign parts, ingredients or components, or processing.
- Requirement for assembly claims: The company must also to ensure, when claiming a product is assembled in the U.S., that it is last substantially transformed in the U.S., its principal assembly takes place in the U.S., and U.S. assembly operations are substantial.
The order also requires Instant Brands to pay a $129,416 judgment.
The FTC is committed to ensuring that “Made in USA” claims are truthful. The FTC’s Enforcement Policy Statement on U.S. Origin Claims provides guidance on making non-deceptive “Made in USA” claims. In addition, the FTC recently finalized its Made in USA Labeling Rule
The Commission vote to issue the administrative complaint and to accept the consent agreement was 4-0. The FTC will publish a description of the consent agreement package in the Federal Register soon. The agreement will be subject to public comment, after which the Commission will decide whether to make the proposed consent order final. Instructions for filing comments appear in the published notice on regulations.gov.
NOTE: The Commission issues an administrative complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions. Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of up to $50,120.