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Stuffed Article Inspection Guide (Part 1): What are Inspections?

03
Jun

As we often say at GRS, registration is just the first step in the long journey of stuffed article compliance. Even after you have cleared the hurdle of getting your stuffed article registered and legally sent to market, there are checks and balances that ensure your product is compliant for years to come.

Inspections are an important part of making sure that products on retailer shelves were registered correctly and have kept up with ongoing compliance protocols. In this 3-part guide we discuss the ins and outs of inspections, what inspectors look for, and what you can do to keep ahead of fines and violations.

Table of Contents

Part 1 — What are Inspections?

Part 2 — License Violations

Part 3 — Law Label Design Violations (coming soon)

What is a Stuffed Article Inspection?

Inspectors are employees of the various regulatory agencies across the United States. Their job is to go into retail stores and pick stuffed articles off shelves for random inspection.

The purpose of an inspection is to look for errors on the stuffed article’s law label that either slipped by during registration, or discover new errors that have cropped up because the product’s manufacturer or importer failed to keep up with ongoing compliance requirements.

What Do Stuffed Article Inspectors Look For?

When inspectors inspect a stuffed article, they generally look for errors that fall under two categories: licensing violations and law label design violations.

Licensing Violations

In order to legally sell stuffed articles in the United States, one or more of the companies involved with the manufacturing or importation of the product must hold active licensing with the local regulatory agency where the product is sold.

You can learn more about licensing violations in Part 2 of this guide, coming soon.

Law Label Design Violations

Law labels are intended to give consumers confidence that the stuffed articles they bring into their homes have passed rigorous testing and adhere to federal safety standards. 

Every detail of a law label, from the material it’s printed on to the design and layout of the information on the label, must conform to national guidelines.

You can learn more about law label design violations in part 3 of this guide, coming soon.

What Happens If My Product Fails Inspection?

If the inspector finds that a stuffed article’s law label contains incorrect information, there are a number of possible consequences — and all of them spell major headaches for your business:

  • They may issue a fine
  • The product may be pulled from the marketplace without compensation
  • In extreme circumstances, the entire store may be closed down until the license is made current

Who Pays the Price for Stuffed Article Violations?

There is no hard and fast rule that determines the company that is responsible for paying the violation. 

At times the manufacturer may be responsible, and at others the importer, wholesaler, distributor or retailer may be responsible.

For that reason, violations can damage your reputation and relationship with your partner organizations. That’s why it’s so important to stay ahead of violations and protect your brand’s good name.

Catch Errors Before the Inspector Does

Don’t leave compliance to chance. GRS offers professional audits for existing law labels, so we can catch and correct issues before they’re spotted by regulatory inspectors.

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