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FTC Approves Final Amendments to Wool Labeling Rules

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved final changes Wednesday to its Wool Products Labeling Rules (Wool Rules) intended to clarify and provide more flexibility to the industry and align several provisions with recent amendments to the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act Rules (Textile Rules).

The Wool Rules require labels on wool garments to disclose the manufacturer’s or marketer’s name, the country where the product was processed or manufactured, and information about the fiber content. The changes will become effective 30 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register.

As Marie D’Avignon, manager of government relations for the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) noted, the changes fall in line with the amendments Congress passed in 2006 with the Wool Suit Fabric Labeling Fairness and International Standards Conforming Act, which named products described as cashmere or as containing very fine wools mislabeled unless they have no more than the average fiber diameter specified in the Act. “Labels already contain this information,” she explained, noting that it should not cause any disturbance for retailers.

Beyond that, D’Avignon said the AAFA is pleased with the FTC’s decision to allow simplified descriptions on some garment hang tags. Whereas in the past hang tags that disclosed fiber trademarks and performance like “moisture-wicking” or “waterproof” had to list the product’s full fiber content, it is now required only on the permanent label.

Additionally, D’Avignon revealed that the FTC dropped the proposal to demand yearly renewals of continuing guarantees, which the AAFA opposed. “To renew these every year for every product would drain companies of time and money,” she explained, noting that one company reported it would take almost takes 8 hours for each guarantee to be passed.

“You can really see a trend in the FTC that they are listening to the industry. They want to work with the industry and share information to consumers in an easy fashion,” D’Avignon stated.