What does “MADE IN USA” mean?

There is so much discussion these days around the MADE IN USA label.  What does it take to use the label “Made in USA” and can you trust the label when you see it? 

This article will tell you everything you need to know.

You can trust the Made In USA label because it is a regulated term by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). 

They set guidelines for how the label is used and if it is not used correctly they fine the business!  Customs help the FTC with regulations and individuals may also report on the FTC website if they suspect something or see evidence that something is wrong.

Made in America

Therefore it is a label that you can trust when you see it! 

What is required to use the Made In USA label? 

The FTC guidelines for using “Made In USA” is that “all or virtually all” of the product was Made in the USA.  They use this language so that no matter what item you are trying to sell – it is clear that it needs to be fully Made in the United States in order to put that label on it.  The FTC guidelines are clear that

“all significant parts, processing, and labor that go into the product must be of U.S. origin.” 

This means that if a brand is making an item overseas and just putting it together in the United States – they may NOT use the Made in USA label. 

Made in USA label

Sometimes you will see brands add the words “with imported parts.”  This means that the item has some components that are imported and they may not use the term “Made In USA” as a stand-alone label. 

In order to protect the “Made In USA” label, the FTC will go after brands that even imply that their product is Made in the United States of America! 

The FTC puts out press releases and fines companies that are caught making implications with labels that deceive consumers with phrases like  “created in USA” or “born in USA”  or “built in USA.”  All of those phrases will result in fines from the FTC, if the brand is not actually Made in USA!  Brands need to note that deceptive advertising around American manufacturing claims will have steep consequences. 

What about Assembled in the USA?

It is important to note that the FTC also regulates the term “Assembled in the USA.”  Brands must also follow the guidelines from the Federal Trade Commision to use “Assembled in the USA” on a label – and must only use that phrase if 

“principal assembly takes place in the U.S. and the assembly is substantial.”   

So if foreign parts come to the USA and only require a quick assembly with a screwdriver – it may NOT use the “assembled in America” label.  The job to assemble the foreign-made parts must be significant. 

What about Made in America?

There is also a difference between “Made In USA” and “Made in America” on a label.  The phrase that we regulate is “Made In USA” – that is the label to look for. Make sure your items say Made in USA and you can trust that.

Extra requirements for textiles using Made in USA label.

Textiles have more stringent requirements for labeling and both print and online catalogs must disclose if it is Made In USA or imported (or both.) 

Details around labels for clothing that are Made in the USA can be found in the Textile and Wool Acts.  This is unique because currently commodities are not required to tell you where they are manufactured, but textiles and clothing are required to give American consumers this information. 

Here at The Made In America Movement, we often educate people on issues around Made In USA and help people understand FTC regulations. 

One of the most important ways we do that is to inform people to Check the Label and look for Made In USA

Another way is to report anything suspicious to the FTC!  Many in our community are well versed at asking brands where they manufactured items and where the components were sourced – so when they discover suspicious information it is important to report to the FTC. 

Reporting a brand or item that is using the Made in USA label incorrectly or is questionable is actually very simple on their website and a fast process: www.FTC.gov

The FTC regulates the label “Made In USA” and they work to prevent fraudulent, and deceptive use of the Made In USA label. To file a complaint visit ftc.gov or call 1-877-382-4357. If you’re looking at an online store or bought from the brand online, choose “Online Shopping”. If you’re at a big box store and see a deceptive item, take a picture and start with “other” on the FTC form.

Since the President has made it a goal to “to buy American and hire American” – many brands have taken note and are looking to market their items as “Made In USA!” 

Our team at the Made In America Movement participated in President Trumps’ “Made In USA roundtable” to discuss his agenda to revive and re-shore American manufacturing.

One interesting fact that occasionally gets a lot of buzz is that President Hoover created the Buy American Act in 1933 that requires the US government to only buy American-made items whenever possible. 

Our government is setting our example to Buy Made In USA! 

You can find brands at www.TheMadeInAmericaMovement.com or shop at www.MadeInAmerica.co

3 replies
  1. Carole
    Carole says:

    I always try to buy Made in the USA products but it should be required to say where the materials are made. I buy USA Pan and All-Clad cookware. Where was the steel made?? If the steel is not USA then the product was not made here.

  2. M
    M says:

    Why am I seeing so many nutritional products being sold on Amazon labeled as “Made in USA” with “globally sourced ingredients”? Is that legal?

  3. Doug
    Doug says:

    The FTC regulations are specific. So, either they meet those guidelines or they are attempting to circumvent those guidelines with a similar but different nomenclature. That will not fly long-term with the FTC.


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