Bill Text

PDF |Add To My Favorites | print page

AB-2632 Packaging and labeling: containers: slack fill. (2017-2018)

SHARE THIS:share this bill in Facebookshare this bill in Twitter
Date Published: 09/19/2018 09:00 PM
AB2632:v95#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 2632
CHAPTER 544

An act to amend Sections 12606 and 12606.2 of the Business and Professions Code, and to amend Section 110375 of the Health and Safety Code, relating to packaging and labeling.

[ Approved by Governor  September 19, 2018. Filed with Secretary of State  September 19, 2018. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2632, Santiago. Packaging and labeling: containers: slack fill.
Existing law, known as the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, prohibits a commodities container, or a food container subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) from being made, formed, or filled as to be misleading and provides that a container that does not allow a consumer to fully view its contents is misleading if it contains nonfunctional slack fill. Existing law provides that nonfunctional slack fill is the empty space in a package that is filled to substantially less than its capacity for other than specified reasons. Existing law specifies 15 reasons a commodities container, and 6 reasons a food container subject to the FDCA, may contain slack fill without violating the prohibition. Existing law also provides that these state provisions regarding food containers are operative only to the extent they are identical to specified federal requirements.
Existing law, the Sherman Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Law, establishes the same prohibition against nonfunctional slack fill as described above for commodities containers subject to that law and specifies 14 reasons that a container may contain slack fill without violating the prohibition.
This bill would revise and recast one of the reasons nonfood containers may contain slack fill without violating the nonfunctional slack fill prohibition, and would also make this reason applicable to food containers subject to the FDCA. The bill would specify an additional reason containers subject to any of these provisions may contain slack fill without violating the nonfunctional slack fill prohibition.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 12606 of the Business and Professions Code is amended to read:

12606.
 (a) No container wherein commodities are packed shall have a false bottom, false sidewalls, false lid or covering, or be otherwise so constructed or filled, wholly or partially, as to facilitate the perpetration of deception or fraud.
(b) No container shall be made, formed, or filled as to be misleading. A container that does not allow the consumer to fully view its contents shall be considered to be filled as to be misleading if it contains nonfunctional slack fill. Slack fill is the difference between the actual capacity of a container and the volume of product contained therein. Nonfunctional slack fill is the empty space in a package that is filled to substantially less than its capacity for reasons other than any one or more of the following:
(1) Protection of the contents of the package.
(2) The requirements of machines used for enclosing the contents of the package.
(3) Unavoidable product settling during shipping and handling.
(4) The need to utilize a larger than required package or container to provide adequate space for the legible presentation of mandatory and necessary labeling information, such as those based on the regulations adopted by the United States Food and Drug Administration or state or federal agencies under federal or state law, laws or regulations adopted by foreign governments, or under an industrywide voluntary labeling program.
(5) The fact that the product consists of a commodity that is packaged in a decorative or representational container where the container is part of the presentation of the product and has value that is both significant in proportion to the value of the product and independent of its function to hold the product, such as a gift combined with a container that is intended for further use after the product is consumed, or durable commemorative or promotional packages.
(6) An inability to increase the level of fill or to further reduce the size of the package, such as where some minimum package size is necessary to accommodate required labeling, discourage pilfering, facilitate handling, or accommodate tamper-resistant devices.
(7) The product container bears a reasonable relationship to the actual amount of product contained inside, and the dimensions of the actual product container, the product, or the amount of product therein is visible to the consumer at the point of sale, or where obvious secondary use packaging is involved.
(8) One or more of the following:
(A) The dimensions of the product or immediate product container are visible through the exterior packaging.
(B) The actual size of the product or immediate product container is clearly and conspicuously depicted on any side of the exterior packaging, excluding the bottom, accompanied by a clear and conspicuous disclosure that the depiction is the “actual size” of the product or immediate product container. If there are multiple units of the same product in a package, only one “actual size” depiction is required per same size product or immediate product container.
(C) A line or a graphic that represents the product or product fill and a statement communicating that the line or graphic represents the product or product fill such as “Fill Line,” both of which are clearly and conspicuously depicted on exterior packaging or the immediate product container if visible at point of sale. If the product is subject to settling, the line shall represent the minimum amount of product after settling.
(9) The presence of any headspace within an immediate product container necessary to facilitate the mixing, adding, shaking, or dispensing of liquids or powders by consumers before use.
(10) The exterior packaging contains a product delivery or dosing device if the device is visible, or a clear and conspicuous depiction of the device appears on the exterior packaging, or it is readily apparent from the conspicuous exterior disclosures or the nature and name of the product that a delivery or dosing device is contained in the package.
(11) The exterior packaging or immediate product container is a kit that consists of a system, or multiple components, designed to produce a particular result that is not dependent upon the quantity of the contents, if the purpose of the kit is clearly and conspicuously disclosed on the exterior packaging.
(12) The exterior packaging of the product is routinely displayed using tester units or demonstrations to consumers in retail stores, so that customers can see the actual, immediate container of the product being sold, or a depiction of the actual size thereof before purchase.
(13) The exterior packaging consists of single or multiunit presentation boxes of holiday or gift packages if the purchaser can adequately determine the quantity and sizes of the immediate product container at the point of sale.
(14) The exterior packaging is for a combination of one purchased product, together with a free sample or gift, wherein the exterior packaging is necessarily larger than it would otherwise be due to the inclusion of the sample or gift, if the presence of both products and the quantity of each product are clearly and conspicuously disclosed on the exterior packaging.
(15) The exterior packaging or immediate product container encloses computer hardware or software designed to serve a particular computer function, if the particular computer function to be performed by the computer hardware or software is clearly and conspicuously disclosed on the exterior packaging.
(16) The mode of commerce does not allow the consumer to view or handle the physical container or product.
(c) Slack fill in a package shall not be used as grounds to allege a violation of this section based solely on its presence unless it is nonfunctional slack fill.
(d) Any sealer may seize a container that facilitates the perpetration of deception or fraud and the contents of the container. By order of the superior court of the county within which a violation of this section occurs, the containers seized shall be condemned and destroyed or released upon conditions the court may impose to ensure against their use in violation of this chapter. The contents of any condemned container shall be returned to the owner thereof if the owner furnishes proper facilities for the return. A proceeding under this section is a limited civil case if the value of the property in controversy is less than or equal to the maximum amount in controversy for a limited civil case under Section 85 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

SEC. 2.

 Section 12606.2 of the Business and Professions Code is amended to read:

12606.2.
 (a) This section applies to food containers subject to Section 403(d) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. Sec. 343(d)), and Section 100.100 of Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Section 12606 does not apply to food containers subject to this section.
(b) No food containers shall be made, formed, or filled as to be misleading.
(c) A container that does not allow the consumer to fully view its contents shall be considered to be filled as to be misleading if it contains nonfunctional slack fill. Slack fill is the difference between the actual capacity of a container and the volume of product contained therein. Nonfunctional slack fill is the empty space in a package that is filled to substantially less than its capacity for reasons other than any one or more of the following:
(1) Protection of the contents of the package.
(2) The requirements of the machines used for enclosing the contents in the package.
(3) Unavoidable product settling during shipping and handling.
(4) The need for the package to perform a specific function, such as where packaging plays a role in the preparation or consumption of a food, if that function is inherent to the nature of the food and is clearly communicated to consumers.
(5) The fact that the product consists of a food packaged in a reusable container where the container is part of the presentation of the food and has value that is both significant in proportion to the value of the product and independent of its function to hold the food, such as a gift product consisting of a food or foods combined with a container that is intended for further use after the food is consumed or durable commemorative or promotional packages.
(6) Inability to increase the level of fill or to further reduce the size of the package, such as where some minimum package size is necessary to accommodate required food labeling exclusive of any vignettes or other nonmandatory designs or label information, discourage pilfering, facilitate handling, or accommodate tamper-resistant devices.
(7) One or more of the following:
(A) The dimensions of the product or immediate product container are visible through the exterior packaging.
(B) The actual size of the product or immediate product container is clearly and conspicuously depicted on any side of the exterior packaging, excluding the bottom, accompanied by a clear and conspicuous disclosure that the depiction is the “actual size” of the product or immediate product container. If there are multiple units of the same product in a package, only one “actual size” depiction is required per same size product or immediate product container.
(C) A line or a graphic that represents the product or product fill and a statement communicating that the line or graphic represents the product or product fill such as “Fill Line,” both of which are clearly and conspicuously depicted on exterior packaging or the immediate product container if visible at point of sale. If the product is subject to settling, the line shall represent the minimum amount of product after settling.
(8) The mode of commerce does not allow the consumer to view or handle the physical container or product.
(d) Slack fill in a package shall not be used as grounds to allege a violation of this section based solely on its presence unless it is nonfunctional slack fill.
(e) This section shall be interpreted consistent with the comments by the United States Food and Drug Administration on the regulations contained in Section 100.100 of Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations, interpreting Section 403(d) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. Sec. 343(d)), as those comments are reported on pages 64123 to 64137, inclusive, of Volume 58 of the Federal Register.
(f) If the requirements of this section do not impose the same requirements as are imposed by Section 403(d) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. Sec. 343(d)), or any regulation promulgated pursuant thereto, then this section is not operative to the extent that it is not identical to the federal requirements, and for this purpose those federal requirements are incorporated into this section and shall apply as if they were set forth in this section.
(g) Any sealer may seize any container that is in violation of this section and the contents of the container. By order of the superior court of the county within which a violation of this section occurs, the containers seized shall be condemned and destroyed or released upon any conditions that the court may impose to ensure against their use in violation of this chapter. The contents of any condemned container shall be returned to the owner thereof if the owner furnishes proper facilities for the return. A proceeding under this section is a limited civil case if the value of the property in controversy is less than or equal to the maximum amount in controversy for a limited civil case under Section 85 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

SEC. 3.

 Section 110375 of the Health and Safety Code is amended to read:

110375.
 (a)  No container wherein commodities are packed shall have a false bottom, false sidewalls, false lid or covering, or be otherwise so constructed or filled, wholly or partially, as to facilitate the perpetration of deception or fraud.
(b)  No container shall be made, formed, or filled as to be misleading. A container that does not allow the consumer to fully view its contents shall be considered to be filled as to be misleading if it contains nonfunctional slack fill. Slack fill is the difference between the actual capacity of a container and the volume of product contained therein. Nonfunctional slack fill is the empty space in a package that is filled to substantially less than its capacity for reasons other than any one or more of the following:
(1) Protection of the contents of the package.
(2) The requirements of machines used for enclosing the contents of the package.
(3) Unavoidable product settling during shipping and handling.
(4) The need to utilize a larger than required package or container to provide adequate space for the legible presentation of mandatory and necessary labeling information, such as those based on the regulations adopted by the United States Food and Drug Administration or state or federal agencies under federal or state law, laws or regulations adopted by foreign governments, or under an industrywide voluntary labeling program.
(5) The fact that the product consists of a commodity that is packaged in a decorative or representational container where the container is part of the presentation of the product and has value that is both significant in proportion to the value of the product and independent of its function to hold the product, such as a gift combined with a container that is intended for further use after the product is consumed, or durable commemorative or promotional packages.
(6) An inability to increase the level of fill or to further reduce the size of the package, such as where some minimum package size is necessary to accommodate required labeling, discourage pilfering, facilitate handling, or accommodate tamper-resistant devices.
(7) The product container bears a reasonable relationship to the actual amount of product contained inside, and the dimensions of the actual product container, the product, or the amount of product therein is visible to the consumer at the point of sale, or where obvious secondary use packaging is involved.
(8) One or more of the following:
(A) The dimensions of the product or immediate product container are visible through the exterior packaging.
(B) The actual size of the product or immediate product container is clearly and conspicuously depicted on any side of the exterior packaging, excluding the bottom, accompanied by a clear and conspicuous disclosure that the depiction is the “actual size” of the product or immediate product container. If there are multiple units of the same product in a package, only one “actual size” depiction is required per same size product or immediate product container.
(C) A line or a graphic that represents the product or product fill and a statement communicating that the line or graphic represents the product or product fill such as “Fill Line,” both of which are clearly and conspicuously depicted on exterior packaging or the immediate product container if visible at point of sale. If the product is subject to settling, the line shall represent the minimum amount of product after settling.
(9) The presence of any headspace within an immediate product container necessary to facilitate the mixing, adding, shaking, or dispensing of liquids or powders by consumers before use.
(10) The exterior packaging contains a product delivery or dosing device if the device is visible, or a clear and conspicuous depiction of the device appears on the exterior packaging, or it is readily apparent from the conspicuous exterior disclosures or the nature and name of the product that a delivery or dosing device is contained in the package.
(11) The exterior packaging or immediate product container is a kit that consists of a system, or multiple components, designed to produce a particular result that is not dependent upon the quantity of the contents, if the purpose of the kit is clearly and conspicuously disclosed on the exterior packaging.
(12) The exterior packaging of the product is routinely displayed using tester units or demonstrations to consumers in retail stores, so that customers can see the actual, immediate container of the product being sold, or a depiction of the actual size of the container before purchase.
(13) The exterior packaging consists of single or multiunit presentation boxes of holiday or gift packages if the purchaser can adequately determine the quantity and sizes of the immediate product container at the point of sale.
(14) The exterior packaging is for a combination of one purchased product, together with a free sample or gift, wherein the exterior packaging is necessarily larger than it would otherwise be due to the inclusion of the sample or gift, if the presence of both products and the quantity of each product are clearly and conspicuously disclosed on the exterior packaging.
(15) The mode of commerce does not allow the consumer to view or handle the physical container or product.
(c) Slack fill in a package shall not be used as grounds to allege a violation of this section based solely on its presence unless it is nonfunctional slack fill.
(d) Any sealer may seize a container that facilitates the perpetration of deception or fraud and the contents of the container. By order of the superior court of the county within which a violation of this section occurs, the containers seized shall be condemned and destroyed or released upon any condition as the court may impose to ensure against their use in violation of this chapter. The contents of any condemned container shall be returned to the owner if the owner furnishes proper facilities for the return.