– but don’t hold your breath. One of our regular readers in the USA reports on the latest moves to permit metric-only labelling of packaging.
In the UK, metric-only labelling of packaging became possible from the 1970s onwards and is now the norm. This week, a report from a reader of Metric Views living in Washington State suggests that the US, the world’s last hold-out of pound/inch-only labels, may at last be falling into line with the rest of the world.
He begins his report with a link to an article on liquid medicine. Readers may not be aware that the liquid medicine in the UK went metric as recently as March 1969, only four years before we joined the Common Market.
Here is his report:
“Dear UKMA friends:
Yet another voice advocating using strictly SI when dealing with medicine here in the USA:
I don’t know how much influence the group that published this article has with anyone. Nonetheless, let’s hope the right people listen to what they have to say.
On another note some email traffic on the USMA list sounds like there is a move afoot to get the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the US Dept of Commerce to work with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to encourage them to come up with a ruling that would allow metric-only labeling on most products sold in the USA (i.e. those that are regulated by the FPLA, the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, which is administered by the FTC).
Note that those products not regulated by the national FPLA are regulated State-by-State with laws modeled on the UPLR, the Uniform Packaging and Labeling Regulation. All states except New York have now adopted laws that allow metric-only labeling for products governed by state law.
Previous attempts to amend the FPLA in Congress to allow (not require) metric only labeling have been blocked by the FMI (Food Marketing Institute) using the specious reasoning that allowing metric-only labeling would increase both costs to the retailer and confusion among consumers (all of which is sheer nonsense). Finding a way for the FTC to rule that despite the current language of the FPLA metric-only labels are legal in the USA would be big win for us over here.
Stay tuned … I’ll pass along more info as I learn what (if anything) develops.”