Marketplace Assessment - Metric Labeling on Packages in Retail Stores
Elizabeth J. Benham
Use of metric labeling on United States consumer products has a long history. Currently, the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA) requires dual unit labeling, while products regulated by states under the Uniform Packaging and Labeling Regulation (UPLR) are permitted to display metric labeling. In an effort to characterize current U.S. marketplace labeling practices, the net quantity of contents labeling of at least 1137 packages was examined in 19 retail stores, including those that sell food, home and personal care products, hobby and arts and crafts products, automotive, hardware, office products and pet supplies. The assessment found that retailers across the United States are selling both domestically packaged and imported products labeled with only metric units. Of those packages examined, 17 % declared the net quantity in only metric units. Almost 57.5 % of those metric packages were found to be noncompliant with current FPLA dual unit requirements. The majority of the parties responsible for manufacturing or distributing 61 % of the metric products were U.S. companies. Metric packages are present in the U.S. marketplace and consumer exposure to metric packaging is growing as demonstrated by their availability in a broad range of retail stores.