Ridiculous Standards Make Made in the USA Labels Illegal in California

July 2nd, 2013
Updated 07/29/2013 at 1:40 am

Ridiculous standards imposed by state courts could make most “Made in the USA” labels illegal in California. To make matters worse, the state legislature has refused to change laws to allow the labels.

Under the current standards, a product can only be labeled “Made in the USA” in the Golden State if all the components in it were made in the United States. A computer assembled in California that contains one chip or screw made in China would not be considered “Made in the USA” under these ludicrous standards.

Courts Ban “Made in the USA” in the Name of Truth in Advertising

The standard was set by a court case called Kwikset Corp. v. Superior Court, or Kwikset v. Benson. In that case, somebody named Benson sued the lock manufacturer Kwikset because one of its locks contained screws made in Mexico. A trial court ruled that Kwikset’s “Made in the USA” labels were false advertising under a state law called Proposition 64 because its locks contained some screws made in Mexico.

This poses an impossible standard that many manufacturers will not be able to meet. What happens in a case where the components the manufacturer needs are not made in the USA? Even products that have 95% or 99% American components are not considered American made under such a standard.

Read: Teen Facing 8 Years Prison After Violent Joke in Online Video Game

It could make “Made in the USA” a thing of the past when considering that California is America’s most populous state and the largest market for a variety of products. Many companies will have to scrap “Made in the USA” labeling because they cannot afford to make separate labels for California and the rest of the country.

Legislature Refuses to Overturn Stupid Decision

To make matters worse, three Democratic members of the California State Senate effectively blocked legislation that would have put an end to this nonsense last year.

Republican State Assemblyman Brian Jones introduced a piece of legislation called Assembly Bill (AB) 890, which would have set a reasonable standard for products labeled “Made in the USA.” Jones’ standard is 90% American-made components. AB 890 passed the Assembly, or lower house of the California state legislature with strong bipartisan support. Since Democrats are the majority party in California, it’s safe to assume most Democrats voted for it.

Yet the bill was tabled by the judiciary committee of the State Senate and allowed to die. The Committee’s Chair, Senator Noreen Evans, a Democrat, actually criticized Jones for introducing the legislation. It isn’t clear why she did this, but Jones stated that he thinks it was done solely because the legislation was introduced by a Republcian.

Jones has promised to reintroduce AB 890 next year. He believes the ridiculous standards imposed by the courts make it harder for manufacturers to create jobs. Jones has also stated he’ll keep reintroducing the legislation until it passes.

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Category: Money, US

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Comments (8)

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  1. johhny says:

    Crazy California

  2. John Stevens says:

    So where will it say its made from?

  3. Jon says:

    What's wrong with honesty – If something is not made from 100% USA parts then it's not made in the USA, Anything less is lying – What's so special about "Made in the USA" anyway?

  4. OK, maybe they can use a label "Assembled in the USA, of mostly USA-made parts" in the meantime. I still want to buy "mostly USA parts" as much as possible.

  5. David says:

    49 other states all follow federal standards when labeling items as "Made in the USA". Why does California have to be different? Federal law says "all or virtually all". A screw made in China does not invalidate something being designed and manufactured in the US. Under California law, no electronic device can state Made in the USA because somewhere inside is a chip made offshore because we don't make ICs any more. Dumb law.

  6. vicki says:

    And Monsanto does not have to label anything at all! Let's all vote for truth-in-advertising !

  7. Charlie says:

    many industries have no american supply chain anymore.
    my company produces product with raw materials that are sourced overseas and substantial transform them into an American Made products-in compliance with Dept. of Defence and yet under Cal laws it would not be considered American Made. All you people who think its a cut and dry issue have no clue what it takes to manufacture in the world let alone the US. You really need to spend time, understand the monies we spend to try and keep our plants open and then have to deal with a ill thought standard that does take into consideration "substantial transformation". Our industry had 38 major manufactures and we are all that is left.
    We have nobody who can make materials for us and haven't in 35 years.

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