Take a close look at any of the items around you now and you’ll likely go on a tour around the world.
You’ll see “Made in China,” “Made in Taiwan,” “A Product of Canada,” or maybe even “Made in U.K.” — those are just a few labels from the items on my desk. Then there’s the “Made in USA” stamp many folks are yearning to see on more of their purchases.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, unless the product is an automobile, a textile or a wool product, there’s no law that requires them to include a “Made in USA” claim — though I’m not sure why companies wouldn’t.
The FTC also recognizes that since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Americans are more interested in buying American-made products. However, if a business claims to make its products in America, “all or virtually all” of the manufacturing must be done on U.S. soil.
That means all significant pieces of a product must be made stateside. There is plenty of fine print that goes along with specific products, especially food and the three mentioned above.
Consumer Reports also notes that if products are manufactured or go through a “substantial transformation” in a country other than the United States, it must be stated clearly. That’s why you may have some confusion over meat, seafood or prepackaged products in the grocery store that say they’re from a certain state, but also list that they’re made in another country.
For example, in the seafood department you could find “North Carolina-caught shrimp” that was sent to another country to be shelled, processed and frozen before being sent back to your grocery store. That’s considered a substantial transformation, so it may be listed as caught in North Carolina but “made” in another country.
Some manufacturers try to mislead shoppers by including an American flag or other patriotic symbols on their product labels. If you want to be sure you’re buying American, read closely — you might find that the product was manufactured in another country. There’s no law that says companies can’t include patriotic images on their labels as long as the product also states where it was made.
But there are a few brands that are manufactured in America or are even moving their operations back.
KitchenAid and Master Lock are just two companies that have in-sourced some of their labor to the U.S. Other popular names that do some or all of their manufacturing on U.S. soil, according to Consumer Reports, include Crayola, Little Tikes, Maglite, Pyrex, Stihl, Lynox, Oreck, Gibson, Martin, Sharpie and Wilson.
American-made clothing can be difficult to find. Stetson, Brooks Brothers, New Balance, Orvis, Woolrich, L.L. Bean and Lands’ End are all doing some manufacturing in the U.S.
If you’re interested in finding out if your favorite products are manufactured in the U.S., it’s best to contact someone directly from the brand. Often a phone number and/or Web address is listed on product labels.
You also can visit websites such as Consumer Reports , the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Federal Trade Commission, www.madeinusaforever.com, www.americansworking.com or www.madeinusa.org to see lists of American-made products and guidelines.
On a more local scale, shopping farmers markets and locally owned stores is the easiest way to find Virginia-made products.
You can speak to the people directly involved in growing, harvesting, crafting or purchasing for their business and know exactly where the products are coming from. The website Shop Virginia’s Finest also has a selection of agricultural and food products approved by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Are you more likely to buy a product if it’s made in America? What are your favorite products that are made in the U.S.?