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FTC Warns Retailers on Bamboo Labeling

The Federal Trade Commission said it has issued letters to 78 retailers warning against labeling or advertising textiles as made of “bamboo.”

Retailers were warned doing so could put them in violation of the law and result in penalties of up to $16,000 per violation, according to the agency. FTC regulations required cellulosic fibers made from bamboo to be labeled rayon.

“Any plant or tree – including bamboo – could be used as the cellulose source, but the fiber that is created is rayon,” according to the FTC.

Among the major retailers receiving the warning were Amazon.com, Bed Bath & Beyond, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Bloomingdale’s, Costco Wholesale, Garnet Hill, JC Penney, Kmart, Kohl’s, Land’s End, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Overstock.com, QVC, Sears, Shop NBC, Spiegel, Target, The Gap, The Great Indoors, Tommy Bahama, and Wal-Mart.

The FTC has a publication designed to help businesses that sell textile products that are labeled as bamboo in compliance with the law as well as a bamboo advice guide for consumers. Both can be found at www.ftc.gov/bamboo.

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