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Kenall Lighting

Company sees that light after FTC inquiry into its made in the USA claims.

What happens when you choose Kenall for your industrial lighting needs just got a lot more complicated thanks to a recent FTC inquiry into the Wisconsin-based company’s made in the USA claims.

“When you choose Kenall, you are investing in America,” Kenall said on its website as recently as January.

Now, the company says: “When you choose Kenall, you are investing in products that not only comply with the Buy American Act, but are quality built and certified to perform.”

Why the change? The FTC found that while Kenall assembles most of its lighting fixtures in the U.S., the products themselves “incorporate significant imported content,” which means they cannot legally be marketed, either implicitly or explicitly, as made in the USA.

In order for a product to be marketed with an unqualified made in the USA claim, such as “built,” “made” or “manufactured” in the USA, without any additional qualifying language like “with imported parts,” the FTC’s Made in USA standard says “all or virtually all” of the advertised product must be made in the United States.

A pre-FTC inquiry Kenall USA logo.

The standard asks a lot more of U.S. manufacturers than the Buy American Act. The BAA requires that only more than 50 percent of the cost of components be of U.S. origin for compliance with the law, which is designed to give domestic manufacturers a leg up on their foreign counterparts.

In its July 23 closing letter to Kenall, the FTC expressed concern that, to most consumers, “[t]ruthful claims that products are BAA-compliant also likely convey unqualified ‘Made in USA’ claims.” To avoid deceiving consumers, the FTC said when referencing BAA compliance, Kenall should add qualifying language.

We see this now at the bottom of Kenall’s website. Where the company used to claim that its lighting products were “[d]esigned and manufactured in the USA,” it now says, “Buy American Act Complaint.” And in smaller print:

Unless otherwise noted, our products comply with the Buy American Act: manufactured in the United States with more than 50% of the component cost of US origin.

You could say Kenall saw the light.

Find more of our coverage on made in the USA claims here.

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