SB 12 establishes Made in California label (signed into law)

Update: SB 12 was signed into law by Governor Brown on October 4.

A Made in USA label has long been seen as an advantage in marketing a product. Now there are in-state manufacturers that want to see the adoption of an official label that declares Made in California. SB 12 would authorize the governor’s business development office to come up with a plan — including the new label — to promote California-manufactured products by establishing a “Made in California” label for products that meet minimum standards. These standards include requirements that a majority of value of the product bearing this label is California content, and that the product could truthfully bear a Made in USA label under California law.

Currently, there are no existing guidelines for claims that non-agricultural products are made in our state. Several private organizations have gone into the business of approving products as “Made in California.” These organizations establish their own definitions, which appear to be weak, for determining whether a product is a California product. One private organization states on its website that some “Made in California” products in their catalog are imported.

Consumers are misled into buying products with labels that are at best dubious. Businesses that utilize these pay-to-play labels may be exposed to charges of false advertising.