Federal Trade Commission.
Proposed Consent Agreement.
The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged violations of federal law prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices or unfair methods of competition. The attached Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes both the allegations in the complaint and the terms of the consent order—embodied in the consent agreement—that would settle these allegations.
Comments must be received on or before July 9, 2009.
Interested parties are invited to submit written comments electronically or in paper form. Comments should refer to “Kmart Corp., File No. 082 3186” to facilitate the organization of comments. Please note that your comment—including your name and your state—will be placed on the public record of this proceeding, including on the publicly accessible FTC website, at (http://www.ftc.gov/os/publiccomments.shtm).
Because comments will be made public, they should not include any sensitive personal information, such as an individual’s Social Security Number; date of birth; driver’s license number or other state identification number, or foreign country equivalent; passport number; financial account number; or credit or debit card number. Comments also should not include any sensitive health information, such as medical records or other individually identifiable health information. In addition, comments should not include any “[t]rade secret or any commercial or financial information which is obtained Start Printed Page 28495from any person and which is privileged or confidential. . . .,” as provided in Section 6(f) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and Commission Rule 4.10(a)(2), 16 CFR 4.10(a)(2). Comments containing material for which confidential treatment is requested must be filed in paper form, must be clearly labeled “Confidential,” and must comply with FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).
Because paper mail addressed to the FTC is subject to delay due to heightened security screening, please consider submitting your comments in electronic form. Comments filed in electronic form should be submitted by using the following weblink: (http://secure.commentworks.com/ftc-KmartCorp) (and following the instructions on the web-based form). To ensure that the Commission considers an electronic comment, you must file it on the web-based form at the weblink: (http://secure.commentworks.com/ftc-KmartCorp). If this Notice appears at (http://www.regulations.gov/search/index.jsp), you may also file an electronic comment through that website. The Commission will consider all comments that regulations.gov forwards to it. You may also visit the FTC website at http://www.ftc.gov/ to read the Notice and the news release describing it.
A comment filed in paper form should include the “Kmart Corp., File No. 082 3186“ reference both in the text and on the envelope, and should be mailed or delivered to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-135 (Annex D), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580. The FTC is requesting that any comment filed in paper form be sent by courier or overnight service, if possible, because U.S. postal mail in the Washington area and at the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security precautions.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Michael J. Davis, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20580, (202) 326-2458.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
Pursuant to section 6(f) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 38 Stat. 721, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and § 2.34 the Commission Rules of Practice, 16 CFR 2.34, notice is hereby given that the above-captioned consent agreement containing a consent order to cease and desist, having been filed with and accepted, subject to final approval, by the Commission, has been placed on the public record for a period of thirty (30) days. The following Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes the terms of the consent agreement, and the allegations in the complaint. An electronic copy of the full text of the consent agreement package can be obtained from the FTC Home Page (for June 9, 2009), on the World Wide Web, at (http://www.ftc.gov/os/actions.shtm). A paper copy can be obtained from the FTC Public Reference Room, Room 130-H, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20580, either in person or by calling (202) 326-2222.
Public comments are invited, and may be filed with the Commission in either paper or electronic form. All comments should be filed as prescribed in the ADDRESSES section above, and must be received on or before the date specified in the DATES section.
Analysis of Agreement Containing Consent Order to Aid Public Comment
The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “Commission”) has accepted, subject to final approval, an agreement containing a consent order from Kmart Corporation, a corporation (“respondent”).
The proposed consent order has been placed on the public record for thirty (30) days for reception of comments by interested persons. Comments received during this period will become part of the public record. After thirty (30) days, the Commission will again review the agreement and the comments received and will decide whether it should withdraw from the agreement or make final the agreement’s proposed order.
This matter involves Kmart’s marketing and sale of American Fare paper plates with shrink-wrap packaging that prominently states “biodegradable” without qualification on the front of the wrapper. According to the FTC complaint, respondent represented that American Fare paper plates will completely break down and return to nature, i.e., decompose into elements found in nature, within a reasonably short period of time after customary disposal. The complaint alleges respondent’s biodegradable claim is false because a substantial majority of total household waste is disposed of either in landfills, incinerators, or recycling facilities and these customary disposal methods do not present conditions that would allow for the paper plates to completely break down and return to nature, i.e., decompose into elements found in nature, within a reasonably short period of time. The complaint further alleges that respondent failed to have substantiation for its biodegradable claim. The proposed consent order contains provisions designed to prevent respondent from engaging in similar acts and practices in the future.
Part I.A of the proposed order prohibits respondent from making a representation that certain of its products are degradable unless the representation is true, not misleading, and substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence. Part I.B prohibits respondent from making any other environmental benefit claim about such products, unless at the time the representation is made, it is truthful and not misleading, and substantiated by competent and reliable evidence, which when appropriate must be competent and reliable scientific evidence.
Parts II through V require respondent to keep copies of relevant advertisements and materials substantiating claims made in the advertisements; to provide copies of the order to certain of their personnel; to notify the Commission of changes in corporate structure that might affect compliance obligations under the order; and to file compliance reports with the Commission and respond to other requests from FTC staff. Part VI provides that the order will terminate after twenty (20) years under certain circumstances.
The purpose of this analysis is to facilitate public comment on the proposed order. It is not intended to constitute an official interpretation of Start Printed Page 28496the agreement and proposed order or to modify in any way their terms.
By direction of the Commission.Start Signature
Donald S. Clark
1. The comment must be accompanied by an explicit request for confidential treatment, including the factual and legal basis for the request, and must identify the specific portions of the comment to be withheld from the public record. The request will be granted or denied by the Commission’s General Counsel, consistent with applicable law and the public interest. See FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).Back to Citation
[FR Doc. E9-14106 Filed 6-15-09: 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6750-01-S