(a) No container wherein commodities are packed shall have a false bottom, false sidewalls, false lid or covering, or be otherwise so constructed or filled, wholly or partially, as to facilitate the perpetration of deception or fraud.
(b) No container shall be made, formed, or filled as to be misleading. A container that does not allow the consumer to fully view its contents shall be considered to be filled as to be misleading if it contains nonfunctional slack fill. Slack fill is the difference between the actual capacity of a container and the volume of product contained therein. Nonfunctional slack fill is the empty space in a package that is filled to substantially less than its capacity for reasons other than any one or more of the following:
(1) Protection of the contents of the package.
(2) The requirements of machines used for enclosing the contents of the package.
(3) Unavoidable product settling during shipping and handling.
(4) The need to utilize a larger than required package or container to provide adequate space for the legible presentation of mandatory and necessary labeling information, such as those based on the regulations adopted by the United States Food and Drug Administration or state or federal agencies under federal or state law, laws or regulations adopted by foreign governments, or under an industrywide voluntary labeling program.
(5) The fact that the product consists of a commodity that is packaged in a decorative or representational container where the container is part of the presentation of the product and has value that is both significant in proportion to the value of the product and independent of its function to hold the product, such as a gift combined with a container that is intended for further use after the product is consumed, or durable commemorative or promotional packages.
(6) An inability to increase the level of fill or to further reduce the size of the package, such as where some minimum package size is necessary to accommodate required labeling, discourage pilfering, facilitate handling, or accommodate tamper-resistant devices.
(7) The product container bears a reasonable relationship to the actual amount of product contained inside, and the dimensions of the actual product container, the product, or the amount of product therein is visible to the consumer at the point of sale, or where obvious secondary use packaging is involved.
(8) The dimensions of the product or immediate product container are visible through the exterior packaging, or where the actual size of the product or immediate product container is clearly and conspicuously depicted on any side of the exterior packaging excluding the bottom, accompanied by a clear and conspicuous disclosure that the representation is the “actual size” of the product or the immediate product container.
(9) The presence of any headspace within an immediate product container necessary to facilitate the mixing, adding, shaking, or dispensing of liquids or powders by consumers prior to use.
(10) The exterior packaging contains a product delivery or dosing device if the device is visible, or a clear and conspicuous depiction of the device appears on the exterior packaging, or it is readily apparent from the conspicuous exterior disclosures or the nature and name of the product that a delivery or dosing device is contained in the package.
(11) The exterior packaging or immediate product container is a kit that consists of a system, or multiple components, designed to produce a particular result that is not dependent upon the quantity of the contents, if the purpose of the kit is clearly and conspicuously disclosed on the exterior packaging.
(12) The exterior packaging of the product is routinely displayed using tester units or demonstrations to consumers in retail stores, so that customers can see the actual, immediate container of the product being sold, or a depiction of the actual size thereof prior to purchase.
(13) The exterior packaging consists of single or multiunit presentation boxes of holiday or gift packages if the purchaser can adequately determine the quantity and sizes of the immediate product container at the point of sale.
(14) The exterior packaging is for a combination of one purchased product, together with a free sample or gift, wherein the exterior packaging is necessarily larger than it would otherwise be due to the inclusion of the sample or gift, if the presence of both products and the quantity of each product are clearly and conspicuously disclosed on the exterior packaging.
(15) The exterior packaging or immediate product container encloses computer hardware or software designed to serve a particular computer function, if the particular computer function to be performed by the computer hardware or software is clearly and conspicuously disclosed on the exterior packaging.
(c) Slack fill in a package shall not be used as grounds to allege a violation of this section based solely on its presence unless it is nonfunctional slack fill.
(d) Any sealer may seize a container that facilitates the perpetration of deception or fraud and the contents of the container. By order of the superior court of the county within which a violation of this section occurs, the containers seized shall be condemned and destroyed or released upon conditions the court may impose to insure against their use in violation of this chapter. The contents of any condemned container shall be returned to the owner thereof if the owner furnishes proper facilities for the return. A proceeding under this section is a limited civil case if the value of the property in controversy is less than or equal to the maximum amount in controversy for a limited civil case under Section 85 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 429, Sec. 1. (SB 465) Effective January 1, 2014.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018