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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR Data is current as of April 16, 2014

Title 16: Commercial Practices


PART 500—REGULATIONS UNDER SECTION 4 OF THE FAIR PACKAGING AND LABELING ACT


Contents
§500.1   Scope of the regulations of this part.
§500.2   Terms defined.
§500.3   Prohibited acts, coverage, general labeling requirements, exemption procedures.
§500.4   Statement of identity.
§500.5   Name and place of business of manufacturer, packer or distributor.
§500.6   Net quantity of contents declaration, location.
§500.7   Net quantity of contents, method of expression.
§500.8   Units of weight or mass and measure.
§500.9   Units of weight or mass, how expressed.
§500.10   Units of fluid measure, how expressed.
§500.11   Measurement of commodity length, how expressed.
§500.12   Measurement of commodities by length and width, how expressed.
§500.13   Measurement of commodities by area measure only, how expressed.
§500.14   Statements of cubic measure and dry measure.
§500.15   Units of count, more than one ply.
§500.16   Measurement of container type commodities, how expressed.
§500.17   Fractions.
§500.18   SI metric prefixes.
§500.19   Conversion of SI metric quantities to inch/pound quantities and inch/pound quantities to SI metric quantities.
§500.20   Conspicuousness.
§500.21   Type size in relationship to the area of the principal display panel.
§500.22   Abbreviations.
§500.23   Expression of net quantity of contents in SI Metric units.
§500.24   Supplemental statements.
§500.25   Net quantity, average quantity, permitted variations.
§500.26   Representations of servings, uses, applications.
§500.27   Multiunit packages.
§500.28   Variety packages.
§500.29   Combination packages.

Authority: 15 U.S.C. 1453, 1454, 1455.

Source: 59 FR 1872, Jan. 12, 1994, unless otherwise noted.

§500.1   Scope of the regulations of this part.

The regulations in this part establish requirements for labeling of consumer commodities as hereinafter defined with respect to identity of the commodity; the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor; the net quantity of contents; and net quantity of servings, uses, or applications represented to be present.

§500.2   Terms defined.

As used in this part, unless the context otherwise specifically requires:

(a) The term Act means the “Fair Packaging and Labeling Act” (Pub. L. 89-755, approved Nov. 3, 1966; 80 Stat. 1296 et seq.; 15 U.S.C. 1451 et seq., as amended by Public Law 102-329, August 3, 1992).

(b) The term regulation or regulations means regulations promulgated by the Commission pursuant to sections 4, 5, and 6 of the Act (15 U.S.C. 1453, 1454, 1455).

(c) The term consumer commodity or commodity means any article, product, or commodity of any kind or class which is customarily produced or distributed for sale through retail sales agencies or instrumentalities for consumption by individuals, or use by individuals for purposes of personal care or in the performance of services ordinarily rendered within the household, and which usually is consumed or expended in the course of such consumption or use. For purposes of the regulations in this part the term consumer commodity does not include any food, drug, device or cosmetic as defined by section 201 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 321); any meat or meat product, poultry or poultry product, or tobacco or tobacco product; any commodity subject to packaging or labeling requirements imposed by the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (7 U.S.C. 136 et seq.); any commodity subject to the provisions of the eighth paragraph under the heading “Bureau of Animal Industry” of the Virus-Serum-Toxin Act (21 U.S.C. 151-157); any beverage subject to or complying with packaging or labeling requirements imposed under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (27 U.S.C. 201 et seq.); any commodity subject to the provisions of the Federal Seed Act (7 U.S.C. 1551-1610).

(d) The term package means any container or wrapping in which any consumer commodity is enclosed for use in the delivery or display of that commodity to retail purchasers. For purposes of the regulations in this part the term package does not include shipping containers or wrappings used solely for the transportation of any consumer commodity in bulk or in quantity to manufacturers, packers, or processors, or to wholesale or retail distributors thereof unless used in retail display; shipping containers or outer wrappings used by retailers to ship or deliver any commodity to retail customers if such containers and wrappings bear no printed matter pertaining to any particular commodity; or containers subject to the provisions of the Act of August 3, 1912 (37 Stat. 250, as amended; 15 U.S.C. 231-233), the Act of March 4, 1915 (38 Stat. 1186, as amended; 15 U.S.C. 234-236); or transparent wrappers or containers which do not bear written, printed, or graphic matter obscuring any part of the label information required by this part.

(e) The term label means any written, printed, or graphic matter affixed to or appearing upon any consumer commodity or affixed to or appearing upon a package containing any consumer commodity; except that:

(1) An inspector's tag or other nonpromotional matter affixed to or appearing upon a consumer commodity shall not be deemed to be a label requiring the repetition of label information required by this part, and

(2) For the purposes of the regulations in this part the term label does not include written, printed, or graphic matter affixed to or appearing upon commodities, or affixed to or appearing upon containers or wrappers for commodities sold or distributed to industrial or institutional users.

(f) The term person includes any firm, corporation or associations.

(g) The term commerce means:

(1) Commerce between any State, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any territory or possession of the United States, and any place outside thereof, and

(2) Commerce within the District of Columbia or within any territory or possession of the United States, not organized with a legislature, but shall not include exports to foreign countries.

(h) The term principal display panel means that part of a label that is most likely to be displayed, presented, shown, or examined under normal and customary conditions of display for retail sale. The principal display panel must be large enough to accommodate all the mandatory label information required to be placed thereon by this part without obscuring designs, vignettes, or crowding. This definition does not preclude utilization of alternate principal display panels on a label of a package, but alternate principal display panels must duplicate the information required to be placed on the principal display panel by this part. This definition does not preclude utilization of the container closure as the surface bearing the principal display panel if that label location is the one most likely to be displayed, presented, shown, or examined under normal and customary conditions of display for retail sale. The principal display panel of a label appearing on a cylindrical surface is that 40 percent of the circumference which is more likely to be displayed, presented, shown, or examined under normal and customary conditions of display for retail sale. The principal display panel of a consumer commodity marketed in a decorative type container, or a container having a capacity of 14 ounce (7.4 mL) or less, may be considered to be a tear-away tag or tape affixed to the container and bearing the mandatory label information as required by this part, but the type size of the net quantity of contents statement shall be governed by the dimensions of the container itself. The principal display panel of a consumer commodity marketed on a display card to which the immediate container of the commodity is affixed may be considered to be the display panel of the card, and the type size of the net quantity of contents statement is governed by the dimensions of the display card.

(i) The term random package means a package which is one of a lot, shipment, or delivery of packages of the same consumer commodity with varying weights, that is, packages with no fixed weight pattern.

(j) The term SI metric refers to units belonging to the International System of Units (abbreviated “SI” from the French, Le Systeme International d'Unites), as interpreted or modified for use in the United States by the Secretary of Commerce. They include the SI units (together with their multiples and submultiples) as well as other metric units (e.g., the liter) that are accepted for use with the SI units because of their practical importance.

(k) The term customary inch/pound refers to units belonging to the system of units used in the United States based on or derived from the ounce, pound, and ton for weight; the inch, foot, yard, and mile for length; the fluid ounce, pint, quart, and gallon for volume; and dry pint, dry quart, peck, and bushel for dry measure.

(l) The term “e” mark refers to the symbol “e” used in connection with the quantity declarations on labels of some consumer commodities marketed primarily in the European Community (EC). The “e” mark constitutes a representation by the packer or importer that the package to which it is applied has been filled in accordance with the average system of quantity specified by the EC. The average system is a method of declaring package fill in the EC and other countries of the world, including the United States.

§500.3   Prohibited acts, coverage, general labeling requirements, exemption procedures.

(a) No person engaged in the packaging or labeling of any consumer commodity for distribution in commerce, and no person (other than a common carrier for hire, or a freight forwarder for hire) engaged in the distribution in commerce of any packaged or labeled consumer commodity, shall distribute or cause to be distributed in commerce any such commodity if such commodity is contained in a package, or if there is affixed to that commodity a label, which does not conform to the provisions of the Act and of the regulations in this part.

(b) Persons engaged in business as wholesale or retail distributors of consumer commodities shall be subject to the Act and the regulations in this part to the extent that such persons are engaged in the packaging or labeling of consumer commodities, or prescribe or specify by any means the manner in which such consumer commodities are packaged or labeled.

(c) Each packaged or labeled consumer commodity, unless it has been exempted through proceedings under section 5(b) of the Act (15 U.S.C. 1454(b)), shall, upon being prepared for distribution in commerce or for sale at retail, and before being distributed in commerce or offered for sale at retail, be labeled in accordance with the requirements of the Act and the regulations in this part.

(d) Each packaged or labeled consumer commodity, unless it has been exempted through proceedings under section 5(b) of the Act, shall bear a label specifying the identity of the commodity; the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor; the net quantity of contents; and the net quantity per serving, use or application, where there is a label representation as to the number of servings, uses, or applications obtainable from the commodity.

(e) Regulations will be promulgated by the Commission exempting particular consumer commodities from one or more of the requirements of section 4 of the Act and the regulations thereunder to the extent and under such conditions as are consistent with the declared policy of the Act whenever the Commission finds that, because of the nature, form, or quantity of the particular consumer commodity, or for other good and sufficient reasons, full compliance with all the requirements otherwise applicable is impracticable or is not necessary for the adequate protection of consumers. Proceedings for the promulgation of such exempting regulations may be commenced by the Commission upon its own initiative or pursuant to petition filed with the Secretary by any interested person or group stating reasonable grounds for the proposed exemption, pursuant to §1.15 of this chapter of the Commission's general procedures.

§500.4   Statement of identity.

(a) The principal display panel of a consumer commodity shall bear a specification of the identity of the commodity.

(b) Such specification of identity shall comprise a principal feature of the principal display panel, shall be in such type size and so positioned as to render it easily read and understood by the consumer, and shall be in lines generally parallel to the base on which the package or commodity rests as it is designed to be displayed.

(c) Such specification of identity shall be in terms of:

(1) The name now or hereafter specified in or required by any applicable Federal law or regulation; or in the absence thereof,

(2) The common or usual name of the commodity; or in the absence thereof,

(3) The generic name or in other appropriately descriptive terms such as a specification which includes a statement of function.

(d) The specification of identity shall not be false, misleading, or deceptive in any respect. Ingredients or components which are not present in the commodity in a substantial or significantly effective amount may not be mentioned in the specification of identity; except that a component present in a formulation in substantial and effective amounts, but not present in the final product due to conversion or transformation into a different entity (which different entity is present in the final product), may be mentioned in the specification of identity.

§500.5   Name and place of business of manufacturer, packer or distributor.

(a) The label of a consumer commodity shall specify conspicuously the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor. Where the consumer commodity is not manufactured by the person whose name appears on the label, the name shall be qualified by a phrase that reveals the connection such person has with such commodity; such as “Manufactured for ___,” “Distributed by ___,” or any other wording that expresses the facts.

(b) The requirement for declaration of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor shall in the case of a corporation be deemed to be satisfied only by the actual corporate name, which may be preceded or followed by the name of the particular division of the corporation. In the case of an individual, partnership, or association, the name under which the business is conducted shall be used.

(c) The statement of the place of business shall include the street address, city, State, and Zip Code; however, the street address may be omitted if it is shown in a current city directory or telephone directory.

(d) If a person manufactures, packs, or distributes a consumer commodity at a place other than his principal place of business, the label may state the principal place of business in lieu of the actual place where such consumer commodity was manufactured or packed or is to be distributed, unless such statement would be misleading.

(e) Standard abbreviations may be used in complying with the requirements of this section.

§500.6   Net quantity of contents declaration, location.

(a) The label of a consumer commodity shall bear a declaration of the net quantity of contents separately and accurately stated on the principal display panel.

(b) The declaration of net quantity shall appear as a distinct item on the principal display panel, shall be separated (by at least a space equal to the height of the lettering used in the declaration) from other printed label information appearing above or below the declaration and, shall not include any term qualifying a unit of weight or mass, measure, or count such as “jumbo quart,” “giant liter,” “full gallon,” “when packed,” “minimum,” or words of similar import. The declaration of net quantity shall be separated (by at least a space equal to twice the width of the letter “N” of the style of type used in the net quantity statement) from other printed label information appearing to the left or right of the declaration. However, the “e” mark shall not be considered to be a qualifying word or phrase and may be used as part of the statement of the net quantity of contents where warranted. When used, the “e” mark shall be at least 3 millimeters (approximately 18 in) in height. The declaration of net quantity of contents shall be placed on the principal display panel within the bottom 30 percent of the area of the label panel in lines generally parallel to the base on which the package or commodity rests as it is designed to be displayed: Provided, that:

(1) On consumer commodities having a principal display panel of 5 square inches (32.2 cm2) or less, the requirement for placement within the bottom 30 percent of the area of the label panel shall not apply when the declaration of net quantity of contents meets the other requirements of this part, and

(2) The requirements as to separation, location, and type size, specified in this part are waived with respect to variety and combination packages as defined in this part.

§500.7   Net quantity of contents, method of expression.

The net quantity of contents shall be expressed in terms of weight or mass, measure, numerical count, or a combination of numerical count and weight or mass, size, or measure so as to give accurate information regarding the net quantity of contents thereof, and thereby facilitate value comparisons by consumers. The net quantity of contents statement shall be in terms of fluid measure if the commodity is liquid, or in terms of weight or mass if the commodity is solid, semi-solid, or viscous, or a mixture of solid and liquid. If there is a firmly established general consumer usage and trade custom of declaring the contents of a liquid by weight or mass, or a solid, semi-solid, or viscous product by fluid measure, numerical count, and/or size, or (as in the case of lawn and plant care products) by cubic measure, it may be used, when such declaration provides sufficient information to facilitate value comparisons by consumers. The declaration may appear in more than one line of print or type.

§500.8   Units of weight or mass and measure.

(a) Statements of weight or mass shall be in terms of both avoirdupois pound and ounce and SI metric kilograms, grams, or milligrams. (Examples of avoirdupois/metric declarations: “Net Wt 15 oz (425 g)” or “Net Wt 112 lbs (680 g)” or “ 2.5 oz (70.8 g)”; examples of metric/avoirdupois declarations: “Net Mass 425 g (15 oz)” or “Net Mass 680 g (112 lbs)” or “100 g e (3.5 oz).”)

(b) Statements of fluid measure shall be in terms of both the U.S. gallon of 231 cubic inches and quart, pint, and fluid ounce subdivisions thereof and SI metric liters or milliliters and shall (except in the case of petroleum products, for which the declaration shall express the volume at 60 °Fahrenheit (15.6 °Celsius)) express the volume at 68 °Fahrenheit (20 °Celsius). (Examples of gallon/metric declarations: “Net 12 fl oz (354 mL)” or “Net Contents 1 gal (3.78 L)” or “8 fl oz (236 mL)”; examples of metric/gallon declarations: “Net 500 mL (1.05 pt)” or “Net Contents 1 L (1.05 qt).”)

(c) Statements of linear measure shall be in terms of both yards, feet, and inches and SI metric meters, centimeters, or millimeters.

(d) Statements of measure of area shall be in terms of both square yards, square feet, and square inches and SI metric square meters, square decimeters, square centimeters, or square millimeters.

(e) Statements of dry measure shall be in terms of both the U.S. bushel of 2,150.42 cubic inches and peck, dry quart, and dry pint subdivisions thereof and SI metric liters or milliliters.

(f) Statements of cubic measure shall be in terms of both cubic yard, cubic foot, and cubic inch and SI metric cubic meters, cubic decimeters, or cubic centimeters.

§500.9   Units of weight or mass, how expressed.

(a) The term net weight or net mass may be used in stating the net quantity of contents in terms of weight or mass. However, where the term “net weight” or “net mass” is not used, the quantity of contents shall always disclose the net quantity of contents. For example: “453 g (1 lb)” or “Net Wt 1 lb (453 g)” or “Net Mass 453 g (1 lb)”.

(b) With the exception of random packages, the statement of net quantity of contents in terms of avoirdupois weight shall be expressed as follows:

(1) If less than 1 pound, in terms of ounces. (Examples: “Net Weight 12 oz. (340 g)” or “Net Mass 340 g (12 oz)”.)

(2) If at least 1 pound but less than 4 pounds, in whole pounds, with any remainder in ounces or common or decimal fractions of the pound, except that it shall be optional to include an immediately adjacent additional expression of net quantity in terms of ounces.

(Examples: “Net Wt. 1 lb. 8 oz. (680 g)” or “Net Wt. 1.5 lb./24 oz. (680 g)” or “24 oz. (112 lb.) 680 g”.)

(3) If 4 pounds or more, in terms of whole pounds, with any remainder in terms of ounces or common or decimal fractions of the pound, except that it shall be optional to include an immediately adjacent additional expression of net quantity in terms of ounces. (Examples: “Net Weight 5 pounds 4 ounces (2.38 kg)” or “Net Mass 2.38 kg (5 lbs 4 oz)” or “Net Wt. 514 lbs. (2.38 kg)” or “Net Mass 2.38 kg (514 lbs.)” or “Net Wt. 5.25 lbs. (2.38 kg) or “Net Mass 2.38 kg (5.25 lbs)”.)

(c) If the net quantity of contents declaration appears on a random package it may, when the net weight exceeds 1 pound, be expressed in terms of pounds and decimal fractions of the pound carried out to not more than three decimal places. When the net weight does not exceed 1 pound, the declaration on the random package may be in terms of decimal fractions of the pound in lieu of ounces. (Examples: “Net Wt. 0.75 lb.” and “Net Weight 1.05 pounds.”) Such decimal declaration shall be exempt from the type size and placement requirements of section 4(a) of the Act if the accurate statement of net weight is presented prominently and conspicuously on the principal display panel of the package. The net quantity of contents declaration on a random package is not required to, but may include a statement in terms of the SI metric system carried out to not more than 3 decimal places.

(d) It is sufficient to distinguish avoirdupois ounce from fluid ounce through association of terms. (Examples: “Net Wt. 6 oz.” vs. “6 fl. oz.” or “Net Contents 6 fl. oz.”)

§500.10   Units of fluid measure, how expressed.

(a) Use of the terms “net” or “net contents” is optional.

(b) Declaration of net quantity of contents in terms of fluid measure shall be identified as such in each instance and the statement of U.S. gallon of 231 cubic inches and quart, pint, and fluid ounce subdivisions thereof shall be expressed as follows:

(1) If less than 1 pint, in terms of fluid ounces. (Example: “Net Contents 8 fl. oz. (236 mL)” or “Net Contents 236 mL (8 fl. oz.)”.)

(2) If at least 1 pint but less than 1 gallon, in terms of the largest whole unit (quarts, quarts and pints or pints, as appropriate), with any remainder in terms of fluid ounces or common or decimal fractions of the pint or quart, except that it shall be optional to include an immediately adjacent additional expression of net quantity in terms of fluid ounces. (Examples: “1 qt. (946 mL)” or “Net contents 1 qt. 1 pt. 8 oz./56 fl. oz. (1.65 L)”, but not in terms of quart and ounce such as “1 quart 24 ounces (1.65 L)”.)

(3) If 1 gallon or more, in terms of the largest whole unit (gallons followed by common or decimal fractions of a gallon or by the next smaller whole unit or units viz, quarts and pints) with any remainder in terms of fluid ounces or common or decimal fractions of the pint or quart, except that it shall be optional to include an immediately adjacent additional expression of net quantity in terms of fluid ounces.

(Examples: “Net contents 212 gal. (9.46 L)”, “Contents 2.5 gal. (9.46 L)”, or “Net contents 2 gallons 2 quarts (9.46 L)” but not as “2 gallons 4 pints (9.46 L)”.)

§500.11   Measurement of commodity length, how expressed.

Declaration of net quantity in terms of yards, feet, and inches shall be expressed as follows:

(a) If less than 1 foot, in terms of inches and fractions thereof.

(b) If 1 foot or more, in terms of the largest whole unit (a yard or foot) with any remainder in terms of inches or common or decimal fractions of the foot or yard, except that it shall be optional to express the length in the preceding manner followed by a statement of the length in terms of inches.

§500.12   Measurement of commodities by length and width, how expressed.

For bidimensional commodities (including roll-type commodities) measured in terms of commodity length and width, the declaration of net quantity of contents shall be expressed in the following manner:

(a) The declaration of net quantity for bidimensional commodities having a width of more than 4 inches (10.1 cm) shall:

(1) When the commodity has an area of less than 1 square foot (929 cm2) be expressed in terms of length and width in linear measure. The customary inch/pound statement is to be expressed in inches and fractions thereof.

(2) When the commodity has an area of 1 square foot (929 cm2) or more, but less than 4 square feet (37.1 dm2), be expressed in terms of area, followed by the length and width. The customary inch/pound statement of area is to be expressed in square inches with length and width expressed in the largest whole unit (yard or foot) with any remainder in inches or common or decimal fractions of the yard or foot except that a dimension of less than 2 feet (60.9 cm) may be stated in inches. Commodities consisting of usable individual units (e.g., paper napkins) while requiring a declaration of unit area need not declare the total area of all such individual units.

(3) When the commodity has an area of 4 square feet (37.1 dm2) or more, be expressed in terms of area, followed by the length and width. The customary inch/pound statement of area is to be expressed in square feet with the length and width expressed in the largest whole units (yards or feet) with any remainder in terms of inches or common or decimal fractions of the foot or yard except that a dimension of less than 2 feet (60.96 cm) may be stated in inches.

(4) For any commodity for which the quantity of contents is required by paragraph (a) (2) or (3) of this section to include a declaration of the linear dimensions, the quantity of contents, in addition to being declared in the manner prescribed by the appropriate provisions of this regulation, may also include, after the customary inch/pound statement of the linear dimensions of the largest unit of measurement, a parenthetical declaration of the linear dimensions of said commodity in terms of inches.

(Example: “25 sq. ft. (12 in. × 8.33 yd.) (12 in. × 300 in.) 42.32 m2 (30.4 cm × 7.62 m)”.)

(b) For bidimensional commodities having a width of 4 inches (10.16 cm) or less, the declaration of net quantity shall be expressed in terms of width and length in linear measure. The customary inch/pound statement of width shall be expressed in terms of linear inches and fractions thereof, and length shall be expressed in the largest whole unit (yard or foot) with any remainder in terms of the common or decimal fractions of the yard or foot, except that it shall be optional to express the length in the largest whole unit followed by a statement of length in inches or to express the length in inches followed by a statement of length in the largest whole unit.

(Example: “2 inches × 10 yards (5.08 cm × 9.14 m)”, “2 inches × 10 yards (360 inches) 5.08 cm × 9.14 m”, or “2 inches × 360 inches (10 yards) 5.08 cm × 9.14 m”.)

§500.13   Measurement of commodities by area measure only, how expressed.

For commodities measured in terms of area measure only declaration of net quantity in terms of square yards, square feet, and square inches shall be expressed in the following manner:

(a) If less than 1 square foot (929 cm2), in terms of square inches and fractions thereof.

(b) If at least 1 square foot (929 cm2) but less than 4 square feet (37.1 dm2), in terms of square feet with any remainder in terms of square inches or common or decimal fractions of the square foot.

(c) If 4 square feet (37.1 dm2) or more, in terms of the largest appropriate whole unit (square yards, square yards and square feet, or square feet) with any remainder in terms of square inches or common or decimal fractions of the square foot or square yard.

§500.14   Statements of cubic measure and dry measure.

Statements of cubic measure and dry measure shall be expressed in terms most appropriate to the providing of accurate information as to the net quantity of contents, and to the facilitating of value comparisons by consumers. When the content declaration on a commodity sold in compressed form is stated in terms of cubic measure there may also be a statement indicating the amount of material from which the final product was compressed. Such statement shall not exceed the actual amount of material that can be recovered.

§500.15   Units of count, more than one ply.

If the commodity is in distinct usable units made up of one or more components or ply, the statement of net quantity of contents shall (in addition to complying with the requirements of linear and area measurement declaration for each unit as specified in §500.12) include the number of ply and the total number of usable units.

(Example: “100 2-ply facial tissues, 812 inches × 10 inches” (21.5 × 25.4 cm).)

For the purposes of this section, roll type commodities (e.g. paper towels), irrespective of perforations, shall not be considered to be usable units, and shall be labeled in terms of total area measurement and the number of ply. Such area measurement, however, shall be supplemented by a count statement and the dimensions of a single unit.

§500.16   Measurement of container type commodities, how expressed.

Notwithstanding other provisions of this part 500 of the regulations pertaining to the expression of net quantity of contents by measurement, commodities designed and sold at retail to be used as containers for other materials or objects, such as bags, cups, boxes, and pans, shall be labeled in accordance with the following paragraphs:

(a) The declaration of net quantity for container commodities shall be expressed as follows:

(1) For bag type commodities, in terms of count followed by linear dimensions of the bag (whether packaged in a perforated roll or otherwise) Net quantity of contents in terms of feet and inches shall be expressed as follows:

(i) When the unit bag is characterized by two dimensions because of the absence of a gusset, the width and length will be expressed in inches, except that a dimension of 2 feet or more will be expressed in feet with any remainder in terms of inches or common or decimal fractions of the foot.

(Example: “25 bags, 17 in. × 20 in. (43.1 × 50.8 cm)” or “200 bags, 20 in. × 2 ft. 6 in. (50.8 × 76.2 cm)”, or “50 bags, 20 in. × 212 ft. (50.8 × 76.2 cm)”.)

(ii) When the unit bag is gussetted, the dimensions will be expressed as width, depth and length in terms of inches except that any dimensions of 2 feet or more will be expressed in feet with any remainder in terms of inches or the common or decimal fractions of the foot.

(Examples: “25 bags, 17 in. × 4 in. × 20 in. (43 × 10 × 50 cm)”, or “200 bags, 20 in. × 12 in. × 212 ft. (50.8 × 30.4 × 76.2 cm)”.)

(2) For other square, oblong, rectangular or similarly shaped containers, in terms of count followed by length, width, and depth except depth need not be listed when less than 2 inches (5.08 cm).

(Example: “2 cake pans, 8 in. × 8 in. (20.3 × 20.3 cm)”, or “roasting pan, 12 in. × 8 in. × 3 in. (30.4 × 20.3 × 7.62 cm)”.)

(3) For circular or other generally round shaped containers, except cups, and the like, in terms of count followed by diameter and depth except depth need not be listed when less than 2 inches (5.08 cm).

(Example: “4 pie pans, 8 in. diameter (20.3 cm)” or “2 cake pans, 8 in. diameter × 4 in. (20.3 × 10.1 cm)”.)

(b) When the functional use of the container is related by label reference in standard terms of measure to the capability of holding a specific quantity of substance or class of substances such references shall be a part of the net quantity statement and shall specify capacity as follows:

(1) Liquid measure for containers which are intended to be used for liquids, semi-solids, viscous materials or mixtures of solids and liquids. The customary inch/pound statement of capacity shall be stated in terms of the largest whole U.S. gallon of 231 cubic inches, quart, pint, or ounce with any remainder in terms of the common or decimal fraction of that unit.

(Example: Freezer Boxes: “4 boxes, 1 qt. capacity, 6 in. × 6 in. × 4 in. (946 mL capacity, 15.2 × 15.2 × 10.1 cm)”.)

(2) Dry measure for containers which are intended to be used for solids. The customary inch/pound statement of capacity shall be stated in terms of the largest whole U.S. bushel of 2,150.42 cubic inches, peck, dry quart, or dry pint with any remainder in terms of the common or decimal fraction of that unit.

(Example: Leaf Bags: “8 bags, 6 bushel capacity, 4 feet × 5 feet (211 L capacity—1.21 m × 1.52 m)”.)

(3) Where containers are used as liners for other more permanent containers, in the same terms as are normally used to express the capacity of the more permanent container.

(Example: Garbage Can Liners: “10 liners, 2 ft. 6 in. × 3 ft. 1 in., fits up to 30 gallon cans (76.2 × 93.9 cm, fits up to 113 L cans”.)

(c) Notwithstanding the above requirements, the net quantity statement for containers such as cups will be listed in terms of count and liquid capacity per unit.

(Example: “24 cups, 6 fl. oz. capacity (177 mL)”.)

(d) For purposes of this section, the use of the terms “capacity,” “diameter,” and “fluid” is optional.

§500.17   Fractions.

(a) SI metric declarations of net quantity of contents of any consumer commodity may contain only decimal fractions. Other declarations of net quantity of contents may contain common or decimal fractions. A common fraction shall be in terms of halves, quarters, eighths, sixteenths, or thirty-seconds; except that:

(1) If there exists a firmly established general consumer usage and trade custom of employing different common fractions in the net quantity declaration of a particular commodity, they may be employed, and

(2) If linear measurements are required in terms of yards or feet, common fractions may be in terms of thirds. A common fraction shall be reduced to its lowest terms; a decimal fraction shall not be carried out to more than three places.

(b) If a statement includes small fractions, smaller variations in the actual size or weight of the commodity will be permitted as provided in §500.25, than in cases where the larger fractions or whole numbers are used.

§500.18   SI metric prefixes.

The following chart indicates SI prefixes that may be used on a broad range of consumer commodity labels:

PrefixSymbolMultiplying factor1
Kilo-kx 103
Deca-da×10
Deci-d×10−1
Centi-c×10−2
Milli-m×10−3
Micro-µ×10−6

1102=100; 103=1000; 10−1=0.1; 10−2=0.01.

Thus, 2 kg=2×1000 g=2000 g, and 3 cm=3×0.01 m=0.03 m.

§500.19   Conversion of SI metric quantities to inch/pound quantities and inch/pound quantities to SI metric quantities.

(a) For calculating the conversion of SI metric quantities to inch/pound quantities and inch/pound quantities to metric quantities, the factors in the following chart and none others shall be employed:

SI Metric Inch/Pound Conversion Factors

Inch/poundMetric
Length
1 mil=25.4 micrometers (µm)*1 micrometer= 0.039370 mil.
1 inch=2.54 cm*1 millimeter=0.039 370 in.
1 foot=30.48 cm*1 centimeter=0.393 701 in.
1 yard=0.9144m*1 meter=3.280 84 ft.
Area
1 square inch=6.4516 cm2*1 square centimeter=0.155 000 in2.
1 square foot=929.0304 cm2*1 square decimeter=0.107 639 ft2.
=9.290 304 dm21 square meter=10.763 9 ft2.
1 square yard=0.836 127 m2
Volume or Capacity
1 cubic inch=16.3871 cm31 cubic centimeter=0.061 023 7 in3.
1 cubic foot=0.028 316 8 m31 cubic decimeter=0.035 314 7 ft3.
=2.83 168 dm31 cubic meter=35.314 7 ft3.
1 cubic yard=0.764 555 m3   =1.307 95 yd3.
1 fluid ounce=29.573 5 mL1 milliliter=0.033 814 0 fluid oz.
1 liquid pint=473.177 mL1 liter=1.05669 liquid quart.
=0.473 177 L1 liter=0.264 172 gallon.
1 liquid quart=946.353 mL1 dry pint=550.610 5 mL.
=0.946 353 L1 dry quart=1.101 221 L.
1 gallon=3.785 41 L1 dry peck=8.809 768 L.
1 bushel=35.2391 L
Weight or Mass
1 ounce=28.349 5 g1 milligram=0.000 035 274 0 oz.
1 pound=453.592 g   =0.015 432 4 grain.
=0.453 592 kg1 gram=0.035 274 0 oz.
   1 kilogram=2.204 62 lb.

*Exactly.

Note: These conversion factors are given to six significant digits to provide such accuracy when necessary.

(b) The SI metric quantity declaration should be shown in three digits except where the quantity is below 100 grams, milliliters, centimeters, square centimeters or cubic centimeters, where it can be shown in two figures. In either case, any final zero appearing to the right of a decimal point need not be shown.

(Examples: “1 lb (453 g)” not “1 lb (453.592 g)”; “Net Wt. 2 oz (56 g)” or “Net Wt 2 oz (56.6 g)” not “Net Wt. 2 oz (56.69 g)”.)

§500.20   Conspicuousness.

The statement of net quantity of contents shall appear in conspicuous and easily legible boldface type or print in distinct contrast (by typography, layout, color, embossing, or molding) to other matter on the package; except that a statement of net quantity blown, embossed, or molded on a glass or plastic surface is permissible when all label information is so formed on the surface.

§500.21   Type size in relationship to the area of the principal display panel.

(a) The statement of net quantity of contents shall be in letters and numerals in a type size established in relationship to the area of the principal display panel of the package or commodity and shall be uniform for all packages or commodities of substantially the same size. For this purpose, “area of the principal display panel” means the area of the side or surface that bears the principal display panel, exclusive of tops, bottoms, flanges at tops and bottoms of cans, and shoulders and necks of bottles and jars. This area shall be:

(1) In the case of a rectangular package or commodity where one entire side properly can be considered to be a principal display panel side, the product of the height times the width of that side;

(2) In the case of a cylindrical or nearly cylindrical container or commodity, 40 percent of the product of the height of the container or commodity times the circumference; and

(3) In the case of any otherwise shaped container or commodity, 40 percent of the total surface of the container or commodity: Provided, however, that where such container or commodity presents an obvious “principal display panel” such as the top of a triangular or oval shaped container, the area shall consist of the entire top surface.

(b) With area of principal display panel defined as above, the type size in relationship to area of that panel shall comply with the following specifications:

(1) Not less than 116 inch (1.5 mm) in height on packages the principal display panel of which has an area of 5 square inches or (32.2 cm2) less.

(2) Not less than 18 inch (3.1 mm) in height on packages the principal display panel of which has an area of more than 5 (32.2 cm2) but not more than 25 square inches (161 cm2).

(3) Not less than 316 inch (4.7 mm) in height on packages the principal display panel of which has an area of more than 25 (161 cm2) but not more than 100 square inches (6.45 dm2).

(4) Not less than 14 inch (6.35 mm) in height on packages the principal display panel of which has an area of more than 100 square inches (6.45 dm2), except not less than 12 (12.7 mm) inch in height if the area is more than 400 square inches (25.8 dm2).

(c) Where the statement of net quantity of contents is blown, embossed, or molded on a glass or plastic surface rather than by printing, typing, or coloring, the lettering sizes specified in paragraph (b) of this section shall be increased by 116 of an inch (1.5 mm).

(d) Letter heights pertain to upper case or capital letters. When upper and lower case or all lower case letters are used, it is the lower case letter “o” or its equivalent that shall meet the minimum standards.

(e) The ratio of height to width of a letter shall not exceed a differential of 3 units to 1 unit (no more than 3 times as high as it is wide).

(f) When fractions are used, each component shall meet one-half the minimum height standards.

(g) The type size requirements specified in this section do not apply to the “e” mark. (See §500.6(b).)

(h) When upper and lower case or all lowercase letters are used in SI metric symbols, it is the uppercase “L,” lowercase “d,” or their equivalent in the print or type used that shall meet the minimum height requirement. Other letters and exponents must be presented in the same type style and in proportion to the type size used. However, no letter shall be less than 1.6 mm ( 116 inch) in height.

§500.22   Abbreviations.

The following abbreviations and none other may be employed in the required net quantity declaration:

Inch—in.

Feet or foot—ft.

Fluid—fl.

Liquid—liq.

Ounce—oz.

Gallon—gal.

Pint—pt.

Pound—lb.

Quart—qt.

Square—sq.

Weight—wt.

Yard—yd.

Avoirdupois—avdp.

Cubic—cu.

Note: Periods and plural forms shall be optional.

§500.23   Expression of net quantity of contents in SI Metric units.

(a) The selected multiple or submultiple prefixes for SI metric units shall result in numerical values between 1 and 1000, except that centimeters or millimeters may be used where a length declaration is less than 100 centimeters. For example, “1.96 kg” instead of “1960 g” and “750 mL” instead of “0.75 L”.

(b) The following symbols for SI metric units and none others may be employed in the required net quantity declaration:

centimeter—cm

cubic centimeter—cm3

cubic decimeter—dm3

meter—m

milligram—mg

liter—L or l

milliliter—mL or ml

square decimeter—dm2

cubic meter—m3

kilogram—kg

micrometer—µm

gram—g

millimeter—mm

square meter—m2

square centimeter—cm2

Note: Symbols, except for liter, are not capitalized. Periods should not be used after the symbol. Symbols are always written in the singular form.

§500.24   Supplemental statements.

Nothing contained in the regulations in this part shall prohibit supplemental statements, at locations other than the principal display panel, describing in non-deceptive terms the net quantity of contents: Provided that such supplemental statements of net quantity of contents shall not include any term qualifying a unit of weight or mass, measure, or count that tends to exaggerate the amount of commodity contained in the package. (Examples of prohibited language are: “Giant Quart,” “Jumbo Liter,” “Full Gallon,” “When Packed,” “Minimum,” or words of similar import.) Required combination declarations of net quantity of contents (for example, a combination of net weight or mass plus numerical count, numerical count plus dimensions of the commodity, etc.) are not regarded as supplemental net quantity statements and shall be located on the principal display panel. Dilution directions or other similar directions for use are not regarded as supplemental net quantity statements and may be located on the principal display panel. Size characterizations in compliance with standards promulgated under section 5(c)(1) of the Act may appear on the principal display panel.

§500.25   Net quantity, average quantity, permitted variations.

(a) The statement of net quantity of contents shall accurately reveal the quantity of the commodity in the container exclusive of wrappers and other material packed therewith: Provided, that in the case of a commodity packed in a container designed to deliver the commodity under pressure, the statement shall declare the net quantity of the contents that will be expelled when the instructions for use are followed. The propellant is included in the net quantity statement.

(b) Variations from the stated weight or mass or measure shall be permitted when caused by ordinary and customary exposure, after the commodity is introduced into interstate commerce, to conditions which normally occur in good distribution practice and which unavoidably result in change of weight or mass or measure.

(c) Variations from the stated weight or mass, measure, or numerical count shall be permitted when caused by unavoidable deviations in weighing, measuring, or counting the contents of individual packages which occur in good packaging practice: Provided, that such variations shall not be permitted to such extent that the average of the quantities in the packages comprising a shipment or other delivery of the commodity is below the quantity stated, and no unreasonable shortage in any package will be permitted even though overages in other packages in the same shipment or delivery compensate for such shortage. Variations from stated quantity of contents shall not be unreasonably large.

§500.26   Representations of servings, uses, applications.

(a) The label of any packaged consumer commodity which bears a representation as to the number of servings, uses, or applications of such commodity contained in such package shall bear in immediate conjunction therewith, and in letters the same size as those used for such representations, a statement of the net quantity (in terms of weight or mass, measure, or numerical count) of each such serving, use, or application: Provided, that such statement may be expressed in terms that differ from terms used in the required statement of net contents (e.g., cupsful, tablespoonful, etc.), when such differing terms describe a constant quantity. Such statement may not be misleading in any particular.

(b) Representations as to the total amount of object or objects to which the commodity may be applied or upon which or in which the commodity may be used, will not be considered to be representations as to servings, uses, or applications, if such amount is expressed in terms of standard units of weight or mass, measure, size, or count.

(c) If there exists a voluntary product standard promulgated pursuant to the procedures found in 15 CFR part 10, by the Department of Commerce, quantitatively defining the meaning of the terms serving, use, or application with respect to a particular consumer commodity, then any label representation as to the number of servings, uses, or applications in such packaged consumer commodity shall correspond with such quantitative definition. (Copies of published standards will be available upon request from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20899.)

§500.27   Multiunit packages.

(a) A multiunit package is a package intended for retail sale, containing two or more individual packaged or labeled units of an identical commodity in the same quantity. The declaration of net quantity of contents of a multiunit package shall be expressed as follows:

(1) The number of individual packaged or labeled units;

(2) The quantity of each individual packaged or labeled unit; and

(3) The total quantity of the multiunit package.

Examples: Soap bars: “6 Bars, Net Wt. 3.4 ozs. (96.3 g) each, Total Net Wt. 1 lb. 4.4 oz. (578 g)” Facial Tissues: “10 Packs, each 25 two-ply tissues, 9.7 in. × 8.2 in. (24.6 × 20.8 cm), Total 250 Tissues.”

(b) The individual packages or labeled units of a multiunit package, when intended for individual sale separate from the multiunit package, shall be labeled in compliance with the regulations under this part 500 applicable to that package.

(c) A multiunit package containing unlabeled individual packages which are not intended for retail sale separate from the multiunit package may contain, in lieu of the requirements of Paragraph (a) of this section, a declaration of quantity of contents expressing the total quantity of the multiunit package without regard for inner packaging. For such multiunit packages it shall be optional to include a statement of the number of individual packages when such a statement is not otherwise required by the regulations.

Examples: Deodorant Cakes: “5 Cakes, Net Wt. 4 ozs. (113 g) each, Total Net Wt. 1.25 lb. (566 g)” or “5 Cakes, Total Net Wt. 1 lb. 4 ozs. (566 g)”; Soap Packets: “10 Packets, Net Wt. 2 ozs. (56.6 g) each, total Net Wt 1.25 lb. (566 g)” or “Net Wt 1 lb. 4 ozs. (566 g)” or “10 Packets, Total Net Wt. 1 lb. 4 ozs. (566 g).”

§500.28   Variety packages.

(a) A variety package is a package intended for retail sale, containing two or more individual packages or units of similar but not identical commodities. Commodities which are generically the same but which differ in weight or mass, measure, volume, appearance or quality are considered similar but not identical. The declaration of net quantity for a variety package will be expressed as follows:

(1) The number of units for each identical commodity followed by the weight or mass, volume, or measure of that commodity: and

(2) The total quantity by weight or mass, volume, measure, and count, as appropriate, of the variety package. The statement of total quantity shall appear as the last item in the declaration of net quantity and shall not be of greater prominence than other terms used.

Examples:

(i) “2 sponges 412 ins. × 4 ins. × 34 in. (11.4 cm × 10.1 cm × 1.9 cm); 1 sponge 412 ins. × 8 ins. × 34 in. (11.4 cm × 20.3 cm × 1.9 cm); 4 sponges 212 ins. × 4 ins. × 12 in. (6.3 cm × 10.1 cm × 1.2 cm)

Total: 7 sponges”.

(ii) “2 soap bars Net Wt. 3.2 ozs. (90 g) each; 1 soap bar Net Wt. 5.0 ozs. (141 g).

Total: 3 bars Net Wt. 11.4 ozs. (323 g).”

(iii) Liquid Shoe Polish: “1 Brown 3 fl. ozs. (88 mL); 1 Black 3 fl. ozs. (88 mL); 1 White 5 fl. ozs. (147 mL).

Total: 11 fl. ozs. (325 mL).”

(iv) Picnic Ware: “34 spoons; 33 forks; 33 knives.

Total: 100 pieces.”

(b) When the individual units in a variety package are either packaged or labeled and are intended for retail sale as individual units, each unit shall be labeled in compliance with the applicable regulations under this part 500.

§500.29   Combination packages.

(a) A combination package is a package intended for retail sale, containing two or more individual packages or units of dissimilar commodities. The declaration of net quantity for a combination package will contain an expression of weight or mass, volume, measure or count or a combination, thereof, as appropriate for each individual package or unit: Provided, that the quantity statements for identical packages or units shall be combined.

Examples

(1) Lighter fluid and flints: “2 cans—each 8 fl. ozs. (236 mL); 1 package—8 flints.”

(2) Sponges & Cleaner: “2 sponges each 4 in. × 6 in. × 1 in. (10.1 × 15.2 × 2.5 cm); 1 box cleaner—Net Wt. 6 ozs. (170 g)”

(3) Picnic Pack: “20 spoons, 10 knives and 10 forks, 10 2-ply napkins 10 ins. × 10 ins. (25.4 × 25.4 cm) 10 cups—6 fl. ozs. (177 mL)”.

(b) When the individual units in a combination package are either packaged or labeled and are intended for retail sale as individual units, each unit shall be in compliance with the applicable regulations under this part 500.



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