The FTC has issued the final rule for updating some aspects of their labeling regulations, including the requirements for the business name and address.
Note that these revised regulations will apply to non-cosmetic items, including to soap that is exempt from the definition of a cosmetic (see Soap, the Chameleon).
The updated regulation concering the business name and address is updated to read:
(c) The statement of the place of business shall include the street address, city, state, and zip code; however, the street address may be omitted if it is listed in a readily accessible, widely published, and publicly available resource, including but not limited to a printed directory, electronic database, or Web site.
The OLD regulation said that the street address could be omitted if it was listed in a phone or city directory.
The NEW regulation says the street address may be omitted if it is listed in a readily accessible, widely published, and publicly available resource.
While “readily accessible” and “widely published” are not defined, I would expect that any site that could be accessed by the public and found in a Google search would be acceptable. Since it also mentions and “electronic database,” it’s likely that an online state business listing would also suffice.
Keep in mind, though, that the street address must be included in the website or listing. (Again, not a PO Box, not a mailbox service.) The point being that a customer COULD find your street address if they looked – but it doesn’t have to be directly on the label.
This is good news since it makes it much easier to qualify to omit your street address from the label if you want to.
NOTE: The regulation that has been changed is 16 CFR 500.5(c). As of publishing of this post, some online regulation databases are not yet updated with the changes, including the Government Publishing Office. The notice of the final rule was published in the Federal Register (80:221, page 71687)