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Down & feather standards proposed

At the New York Market -- A system to help ensure consistent standards, testing and quality control for down and feather products was put forward last night to about 75 suppliers and retailers.

The American Down and Feather Council offered its labeling compliance program and explanation of the ADFC Seal of Approval, along with a short educational presentation of the products’ quality control. The program reviewed the process for filing complaints and appeals, testing and the weighted point system. It also explained sanctions for failure and the standards for issuing the Seal.

Complaints may be brought by ADFC members submitting four unopened products for testing utilizing the weighted point system for such attributes as content, species, fill power and weight, thread count and size, explained Joe Crawford, chairman of the ADFC marketing committee. Basic on those points the product is issued a pass-fail grade and an automatic second round of testing takes place. If the product fails again, the manufacturer is notified and an appeals process potentially tests four additional products before sanctions are imposed, which might include notification of the Federal Trade Commission and suspension of the ADFC seal.

Supply shortages and higher prices are “an invitation to quality problems,” explained Wilford Leiber, president of the International Down and Feather Laboratory and Institute. He said there have been some reported quality issues this year. The hour-long session was moderated by IDFC chairman Stephen Palmer, who is president of supplier United Feather and Down.

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