Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA) – Background, Summary of Provisions and Recent Amendments

  • By: Staff Editor
  • Date: August 16, 2011
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The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA) of 1966 is a consumer protection legislation that directs the FDA and FTC to issue regulations for the packaging and labeling of products. The act directs product manufacturers to disclose information truthfully and completely through packages and labels.

The FPLA was enacted to ensure that consumers were given enough information to make the right choice between competing products. It aimed to put an end to unfair or deceptive packaging of household consumer commodities.

  Attend any of the ComplianceOnline webinars to get a better understanding of the various packaging and labeling regulatory requirements:  

Summary of Provisions


According to the Act, the term package means any container or wrapping in which any consumer commodity is enclosed and displayed for retail. It does not include:

  • Shipping containers and wrapping for transport of commodities in bulk from manufacturers to retailers and vice versa
  • Shipping containers and wrapping without printed matter about contents used by retailers to ship or deliver commodities to their customers

Labels refer to any written, printed or graphic matter affixed to any consumer commodity or packages containing the commodity.

Principal Display Panel means that part of the label that is most likely to be on display or shown when displayed for retail sale.

Labeling and packaging requirements

The FPLA requires labels on household consumer commodities to include the following information:

  • Statement identifying the commodity
  • Name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer or distributor
  • Net quantity of contents in terms of weight, measure or numerical count.

Furthermore, the Act stipulates that labels should:

  • Include measures and weights in both metric and inch/pound terms
  • Appear in conspicuous and easily legible type in distinct contrast with other matter on the package
  • Disclose the net quantity of servings if the label mentions number of servings included in the commodity

Promulgating authority and enforcement

According to the FPLA, the FDA administers and enforces the Act’s requirements with respect to food, drugs, cosmetics and medical devices.

The FTC administers and regulated labeling and packaging requirements of other consumer commodities that are consumed or expended in the household.

Authorization of additional regulations

The Act authorizes additional regulations where necessary to prevent consumer deception (or to facilitate value comparisons) with respect to descriptions of ingredients, slack fill of packages, use of "cents-off" or lower price labeling, or characterization of package sizes.


  • The FTC’s regulations under the Act do not apply to products distributed for industrial or institutional uses
  • The Act does not apply to insecticides, fungicides and rodenticides which fall under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • The FPLA also does not include products such as:
    • Meat and meat products
    • Poultry and poultry products
    • Tobacco and tobacco products
    • Prescription drugs
    • Beverages that have separate labeling and packaging requirements under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act
    • Clothing and other textiles
    • Durable goods
    • Hardware and tools
    • Automotive products
    • Bottled gas for heating or cooking
    • Christmas light sets, lawn and garden supplies
    • Cigarette lighters
    • Small arm ammunition
    • Inks, stationery and writing supplies, school supplies
    • Greeting card and gift wraps
    • Pet care supplies
    • Sewing accessories, threads


  • Many products that are exempt from the FPLA nevertheless fall within the purview of the Weights and Measures laws of the individual states.

Recent amendments

The FPLA was amended in 1992 to include the metric labeling requirement. This amendment came into effect on February 14, 1994.

Additional Resources

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