On July 16, 2020, the Federal Register published a notice of proposed rulemaking from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) related to “Made in USA” and other unqualified claims of U.S. origin on product labels. The proposed rule would prohibit entities for marketing goods as having been “Made in the U.S.A.” unless (1) final assembly or processing of the product occurs in the United States; (2) all significant processing that goes into the product occurs in the United States; and (3) all or virtually all ingredients or components of the product are made and sourced in the United States.
The Southern Shrimp Alliance intends to file comments in support of the FTC’s proposed rule before September 14, 2020, the deadline established by the agency for comments. The Southern Shrimp Alliance’s comments will highlight inappropriate practices by some restaurants in offering menu items that falsely indicate to customers that imported shrimp is domestic (i.e., “Gulf shrimp”). These deceptive practices not only confuse consumers, but fatally undermine the marketing efforts of restaurants that do, in fact, carry domestic shrimp. While the FTC’s regulations would not require restaurants to provide the country-of-origin of seafood offered for sale, the Southern Shrimp Alliance is seeking to clarify that the rule prohibits restaurants from making false U.S.-origin claims in their menu offerings.
To date, the FTC has received hundreds of comments from cattlemen and ranchers in support of the proposed rule. Cattlemen and ranchers believe it is inappropriate for beef products to be labelled as “Made in the U.S.A.” if the cattle were raised outside of the United States. This campaign has helped to emphasize the importance of accurate and complete labeling for U.S. food consumers. You can read the comments submitted by cattlemen and ranchers in support of the rule here: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FTC-2020-0056
A similar effort by members of the U.S. shrimp industry will help to further establish the importance of enforceable labeling standards for food products.
Please consider submitting a comment in support of the rule. You can do so up until September 14th by going to this website, https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FTC-2020-0056-0001, and clicking on the “Comment Now!” on the right-hand of the screen. You can also reach the comment page directly through this website address: https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=FTC-2020-0056-0001
While comments may be submitted anonymously, you may also provide your name and contact information.
In the comment box, you may want to:
- Express your support for the FTC’s proposed regulations on “Made in the U.S.A.” claims;
- Emphasize the importance of empowering consumers to be able to choose to buy domestic shrimp;
- Provide information regarding your involvement with the U.S. shrimp industry;
- Discuss your opinion of imported shrimp; and/or
- Explain the importance, to you, of being able to purchase goods made in the U.S.A.