Alameda County District Attorney's Office
Nancy E. O'Malley, District Attorney

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Clorox Settles Specialty Bleach Bottling Case

OAKLAND -- Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley announced today that the Clorox Company, based in Oakland, has entered into a settlement regarding the contents of household bleach containers. Marin, Monterey, Napa and Sonoma Counties joined Alameda County in bringing this consumer protection regulatory action.

The District Attorneys’ investigation involved two specialty bleach products sold in retail locations throughout California from January 2008 to January 2010: Anti-Allergen Bleach and Cold-Water Bleach. The District Attorneys’ alleged that these specialty bleaches were sold in the same 3-liter bottles as Clorox Regular Bleach, yet were filled to only 80% of capacity in violation of California’s Fair Packaging and Labeling Act. The action was filed in Alameda County and the Clorox Company stipulated to the judgment without admitting liability. The Clorox Company is now subject to an injunction that prohibits them from selling any household bleach product that are packaged in such a way as to be misleading, deceptive or contain any unnecessary headspace. Clorox has also agreed to pay $199,654.00 in civil penalties, law enforcement costs and restitution.

The California Division of Measurement Standards and local Weights and Measures Departments brought the consumer action to the attention of the local District Attorney’s Offices. The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act protects consumers against deception or misrepresentation by requiring that commodities be packaged and labeled in a manner that will facilitate value comparisons and enable consumers to obtain accurate information about the quantity of the contents. It is unlawful to package a commodity in such a manner that is likely to mislead the consumer about the contents or to fill, form or making a container that creates headspace in the packaging that is unnecessary. It was the opinion of the District Attorneys that the two specialty bleach products formerly sold by the Clorox Company were incompatible with existing law.

“Weights and measures laws exist so that consumers may accurately calculate the costs of their purchases. It allows consumers to do meaningful comparison shopping between businesses and products,” said District Attorney Nancy O’Malley.

“The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office will remain vigilant in addressing weights and measures cases. Misrepresentations of the actual contents of a product harm both consumers and other businesses.”

The Clorox Company cooperated fully with the District Attorneys in resolving this investigation.

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Posted on Nov 30, 2011