Show-&-Tell: How Much are you Buying?

How much extract is in this bottle? It’s a standard 2oz size, but actually contains only 1oz.

When originally passed, the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 did not require the label to declare its contents. Thus fraudsters used various means to trick consumers into buying less. This legal gap was filled by Congress in 1913 with the Gould Amendment, which required “the quantity of the contents be not plainly and conspicuously marked on the outside of the package in terms of weight, measure or numerical count.”

Yet, a person can still be fooled even if the net quantity is accurately declared as we commonly use visual cues to ascertain quantity. For this reason, the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938 prohibits a food “if its container is so made, formed, or filled as to be misleading.” However, “misleading” is a less than definitive standard and lawsuits continue well into the presence over this issue: Barilla pasta and Reese’s candy.

Thank you FDA Historian’s Office for posting this picture online. 


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