US authorities end Walmart ‘Made in USA’ probe
US regulatory authorities have ended a probe into controversial Walmart ‘Made in US’ advertising claims.
The Federal Trade Commission, which enforces laws in the US prohibiting misleading advertising, says Walmart parent Wal-Mart Stores had “addressed” the problem of products being promoted as made in the US when in fact they were imported.
The investigation followed evidence gathered by watchdog Truth in Advertising which in June identified 100 imported products bearing a Walmart promotional logo declaring “Made in USA”. In July the group found another 100 and subsequently lodged a complaint with the FTC.
Walmart created the logo to appease growing American consumer concerns that its policy of sourcing low priced goods was forcing jobs offshore, with an increasing share of its stock sourced from China, Vietnam and other low cost production centres.
Walmart has now dropped the logo from products on its website pending a redesign. In future, the retailer plans to indicate how much of a product has been produced domestically and how much imported.
In a letter published on its website, the FTC said it had decided to close the investigation without any further action given Walmart had dropped the logo.
“Based on your actions and other factors, the staff has decided not to pursue this investigation any further,” wrote FTC staff attorney Julia Solomon Ensor in the letter posted online.
A Wal-Mart Stores spokesman Kory Lundberg said the company was pleased with the decision and remains committed to “reviewing and strengthening our processes”.