CHPA applauds Gov. Brown for signing law clarifying “slack fill” exemptions

State statute regulating empty space in packaging and labeling provides both consumer protection and clarity to manufacturers

Washington, D.C. (October 1, 2013) – The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) today applauds California Governor Jerry Brown for signing S.B. 465 into law.  S.B. 465 clarifies the current state law on the use of empty space between the product and excess container capacity, commonly referred to as “nonfunctional slack fill.”

While a variety of federal and state-specific statutes protect consumers against deceptions or misrepresentation, manufacturers have faced inconsistent enforcement actions in California for their product packaging even though the packaging meets one of the statutory exemptions. S.B. 465 clarifies existing law that if a package satisfies any one of the non-functional slack fill exemptions, the package is exempt from liability.

“We thank Governor Brown and the California legislature from bringing clarity to the law.  Manufacturers who package their products in a way that gives consumers facts they need to make well-informed choices and ensures product quality shouldn’t be at-risk to unfair penalties.  This change advances that objective,” CHPA President and CEO Scott Melville said.

Melville said this measure is of significance to over-the-counter (OTC) medicine companies, which have special considerations and labeling requirements when developing product packaging. Since the late 1960s, all OTC medicines have been required by law to state the quantity of the contents on the front of the package.  While some OTC medicines may come in packaging that may at casual glance seem larger than necessary, this can be for many reasons such as sufficient size to include the Drug Facts information, to assure the stability of the contents, or to allow for child-resistant packaging features.

Contact: Jenni Terry, 202.429.9260


CHPA is the 132-year-old trade association representing U.S. manufacturers and distributors of over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements.