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Regulatory Compliance

Utah Proceeds With Online Labeling

The State of Utah continues working toward a new digital law label requirement for upholstered furniture sold online to customers residing in the state. A revised rule is expected to be published in the July 15 Utah State Bulletin, and public comment will be from July 15 to August 14.

A session on the new rule is scheduled the second day of AHFA’s Annual Regulatory Summit (Thursday, August 8) for those who want to understand the state’s initiative in more detail.

Officials from the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) revised the state’s labeling law for bedding, upholstered furniture and quilted clothing in April last year. The new provisions were designed to protect online shoppers by giving them access to a product’s content label prior to finalizing a purchase.

However, by the time the rule’s January 2024 effective date rolled around, state officials had not yet determined how the rule could be applied to custom ordered upholstered furniture.

In response to concerns submitted by AHFA, UDAF announced in September 2023 that it would engage in only “soft enforcement” through June 2024. In December, AHFA hosted three UDAF officials on tours of upholstery plants in North Carolina where they observed first-hand why an accurate law label cannot be created for a product prior to it being manufactured. Customer options for foam and other filling materials sometimes result in dozens of possible variations to the law label.

Further, companies with multiple cushion vendors might shift production locations depending on a variety of factors not known at the time the order is placed. Following the factory visits, the department filed an emergency rule to temporarily remove the online law label requirement until revisions to the original language could be considered.

During the emergency rule period, the department engaged with various stakeholders to discuss online sales of special order products and consider a possible solution proposed by AHFA.

The rule expected to be published on July 15 would have an April 1, 2025, effective date. It requires online retailers of bedding and upholstered furniture to display or hyperlink to a digital law label for each article presented for sale. This pop-up display or hyperlink to a label page can be in the product description, the product specifications, in an image gallery or carousel, or in another specific location approved by the department.

Any upholstered product that is made-to-order may display a law label or hyperlink that contains the applicable filling material, the applicable URN (unique registry number) and the sterilization permit number, if applicable. The filling material must be described by its generic name (not a brand name) and grade. When a mix of filling materials is used, they must be listed by percentage wight in order of predominance.

Made to order upholstery ordered in a brick-and mortar store would be exempt from the digital law label requirement.

Seven days after the comment and review period, the new rule is expected to become final. With no further delays, this would be August 21.