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Issue Date: Vol. 49, No.7, July 2009, Posted On: 7/24/2009

CPSC Issues Favorable Ruling, Guidelines On Bulk Product Labeling

by Staff Reporter
Consumer Product Safety Commission, CPSC, Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, Section 103, National Bulk Vending Association, bulk vending, vending, vending routes, vending business, vending machine, toy merchandising, gumball machines, coin-op, coin machine, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo LLP, Quin Dodd

WASHINGTON -- The Consumer Product Safety Commission appears to have made a move that is favorable to the bulk vending industry concerning the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act's Section 103(a), which outlines requirements for product labeling.

In a statement of policy on the CPSIA section issued on July 22, the commission appears to have granted an exemption on labeling requirements for individual products sold through bulk vending machines. The CPSC statement said: "If a product is sold through a bulk vending machine, the item does not need to be individually marked but the package or carton in which such products are shipped to the retailer should be marked. The Conference Report recognized that marking each individual product in such circumstances may not be practical."

The bulk vending industry has vigorously argued that labeling of the small, individual toys sold through bulk venders is economically impractical and perhaps even physically impossible. On its surface, the CPSC seems to have ruled in favor of the industry, though a final analysis by lawyers representing the bulk vending industry has not been made.

"The commission's ruling is a great victory for bulk vending suppliers and operators," said Quin Dodd of the National Bulk Vending Association's law firm Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo LLP. However, he cautioned that the CPSC's interpretation is not legally binding and that the industry may seek a congressional ruling that has the force of law.

Section 103 of the CPSIA requires manufacturers to place permanent, distinguishing marks on children's products and their packaging to help parents and retailers quickly recognize whether a toy they own or stock is the same as one involved in a recall. The CPSIA measures will commence Aug. 14, one year after President Bush signed the act into law.

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