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Pyrex maker settles over false 'Made in USA' claims

Reuters logo Reuters 1/19/2023 By Jonathan Stempel
A "Made in USA" tag is seen inside a Domke photographer's bag in Zurich © Thomson Reuters A "Made in USA" tag is seen inside a Domke photographer's bag in Zurich

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - The maker of Pyrex kitchenware agreed to pay a fine and change its marketing practices to settle U.S. claims that it falsely advertised its popular glass measuring cups as "Made in USA" while importing some of them from China.

Instant Brands LLC did not admit or deny wrongdoing in Wednesday's settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, which approved it by a 4-0 vote.

The FTC said Instant Brands shifted some production of Pyrex cups, which are used in home baking, to China from March 2021 to May 2022 after being unable to meet demand on Amazon.com's website early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the shift, Instant Brands marketed the Chinese-made cups as "Made in USA" and as "American as Apple Pie" though the cups were marked "Made in China," the FTC said.

More than 110,000 Chinese-made cup sets that were advertised as "Made in USA" were sold to U.S. consumers, many of whom complained after seeing where the cups were made, the FTC said.

Some consumers are willing to pay more for products made in the United States.

The settlement calls for Instant Brands to pay a $129,416 fine, and stop claiming its products are U.S.-made unless their final assembly and all significant processing take place there, and virtually all components are sourced domestically.

Instant Brands did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The Downers Grove, Illinois-based company is controlled by private equity firm Cornell Capital LLC.

In 2021, the FTC adopted a "Made in USA Labeling Rule" to protect businesses and consumers from what it called "rampant" fraud by marketers over their products' origins.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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