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What Type of Guarantees Should a Packaging Distributor Provide?

September 2, 2014
Question 

We are a food packaging distributor. We do not manufacture any of the products we supply to customer. When customers request Letter of Guarantee on a product that we supply, is it acceptable for our company to draft and provide a copy of our company's LOG for the customer, based on LOG that we receive from our vendor/manufacturer? Does the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act requirements specify that a LOG must be provided by the product manufacturer, and not the distributor who resells products?

Answer 

While customer requests for assurance that food packaging complies with applicable regulations and relevant quality specifications are common in the U.S., there is not a legal requirement to provide one. However, a Letter of Guarantee (LOG) may be required by a customer as a condition of sale. In response to your first question, if your customer will accept a LOG that you draft based on a LOG that you received from your vendor, then that would be acceptable; however, you could be increasing your liability exposure in doing so. You should consult with your lawyer on that issue. You also asked about Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act requirements. Section 303 of the Act provides suggested language for a LOG, but as mentioned above, does not require either a product manufacturer or distributor to provide one. For more information, see the PackagingLaw.com article, Customer Assurance for Food Packaging Materials: Points to Consider, which discusses three types of LOGs: Section 303 Guaranty letters, company letters of assurance, and third party confirmations.