A Summary of Requirements and Exceptions for Tracking Labels, CPSIA Section 103a

July 25, 2009 — By

Commissioner Nord had previously voted to stay product labeling requirements until the CPSC could determine specific rules for labels, while Commissioner Moore voted to keep the August 14th deadline, stating that specifications from the CPSC were not necessary.

Earlier this week, the CPSC published policy guidance that sides with Moore.  Permanent tracking labels will be required on all products primarily intended for children aged 12 and under, as well as the products’ packaging, beginning August 14, 2009.

Here is a summary of the requirements and exceptions as the law is interpreted by the CPSC:

1)    The domestic manufacturer or importer is responsible for labels.

2)    “Permanent labels” are any distinguishing mark remaining intact throughout the useful life of product (or packaging).

3)    Each manufacturer is to determine the type of marking best suited for their product and packaging.

4)    Consumer must be able to identify:
a.    Manufacturer or Private Labeler
b.    Location (City, State, Country) of manufacture1
c.    Date product was assembled or packaged
d.    Cohort information (eg. batch and run number), if applicable

5)    Manufacturer must also be able to determine the exact source of product and components

6)    Information need not be together in one location or marking.

7)    Manufacturer can employ a code or number for their markings if consumers can use it access the required information (e.g. online).

8)    Exceptions to labels on packaging include:

a.    If label on product can be seen through packaging.

9)    Exceptions to labels on products include:

a.    Products too small to be marked.
b.    Products sold with multiple pieces (only one piece needs to be marked).
c.    If product includes storage container for multiple pieces, container and one piece must be marked.
d.    Items sold through vending machines.
e.    Marking weakens or damages product.
f.    Surface impossible to mark.
g.    Aesthetics of product would be ruined by marks.
h.    For socks and hosiery, follow Care Label rules.

10)    Penalties for non-compliant companies will be assessed based on a company’s “good-faith effort” to comply, as determined by company records and comparison with the company’s peers.

1 The CPSC specified that, in case of multiple parts being manufactured on multiple dates, the date of production can identified as a range or as the date of assembly or package.  They did not, however, specify the definition of “location of production” when multiple parts are produced in different locations.



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