NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ–Walmart removed all "Made in USA" logos and claims from its website following a recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) probe that had been sparked by a consumer watchdog group.
On October 20, the government said it had “decided not to pursue [the] investigation any further” and that Walmart took several steps to “prevent consumer deception.”
According to an FTC letter to the corporation, Walmart removed “country-of-origin information” from product specifications or descriptions.
Walmart proactively redesigned its "Made in USA" logos for some store brand products “promoted in conjunction with the Investigating in American Jobs Program,” according to the letter.
The letter also says that the new logos on some packages now include “larger disclosures” indicating what “percentage of US content” is found in the product.
However, the FTC's letter also cites a disclosure by Walmart intended to communicate that US manufacturers are independently responsible for self-certifying all US origin claims.
Walmart’s “Made in USA” claims were called out over the summer by a watchdog group known as Truth in Advertising (TIA) after it found hundreds of mislabeled products.
For example, TIA found that Walmart's “Great Value Double Zipper Sandwich Bags” appeared as solely “Made in USA” on the retailer’s website while the product packaging says they are made only in Thailand.
The fact that the watchdog group published its findings was enough to kick off the FTC probe.
"Based on your actions and other factors, the staff has decided not to pursue this investigation any further," FTC attorney Julia Solomon Ensor wrote in the letter. "This action should not be construed as a determination that there was no violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act."
A Walmart spokesman said the retailer is pleased with the FTC’s resolution.
"We are pleased with the FTC’s decision and appreciate its thorough review of our program," said the spokesman.
"We’re committed to reviewing and strengthening our processes to help ensure customers have a great experience on our website and can find the products and information they are looking for."
The FTC investigation comes two years after Walmart said it would procure more products from US manufacturers rather than from overseas.