Effective August 30, 2018, new Prop 65 signage requirements will be in effect in California for alcohol retailers and suppliers with ten or more employees. In a nutshell, there are two new requirements:
(1) The existing Prop 65 general alcohol warning language has been slightly revised to include the word WARNING and a link to the state government’s Prop 65 website;
(2) A new warning is required to warn consumers about Bisphenol A (BPA), which is a chemical present in certain packaging materials, such as some synthetic wine corks and aluminum cans, and in certain processing equipment, such as some hoses. (We previously wrote about BPA here.)
Suppliers and retailers of alcoholic beverages must comply to the letter with the new requirements to remain safe from possible lawsuits for violating the Prop 65 consumer warning requirements. Below is a summary of the specific signage requirements and instructions about where these required warnings will need to be posted.
(1) The Prop 65 General Alcohol Warning Sign
(a) Who must provide the general alcohol warning?
All retailers of alcoholic beverages in California with 10 or more employees must post the new general alcohol warning sign pictured below. The posting requirements also extend to California producers with tasting rooms, ecommerce websites, catalog sales, and to retailers outside of California shipping wine to California consumers.
(b) What does the general alcohol warning say?
The warning must use the exact language shown below, including the word WARNING in uppercase, bold type. When it is posted at the retail point-of-sale, it must be presented within a rectangular border, as shown below.
(c) Where must the general alcohol warning sign be posted?
1) on an 8.5” x 11” sign with 22-point type at the point-of-display, that is at eye level, and is “readable and conspicuous” i.e., on the wall of the tasting room or retail store near where the alcohol is displayed; or
2) on a 5” x 5” sign with 20-point type presented within a square border, just as pictured above, placed at each point-of-sale (i.e., near each cash register) or each point-of-display.
(2) The BPA Warning Sign
(a) Who must provide the BPA warning sign?
The BPA warning only applies to companies with 10 or more employees that sell products that contain BPA, and may not apply to your business. If you aren’t sure if your product contains BPA, you can seek written certification letters from your suppliers of equipment and packaging materials (e.g., cans, bottles, caps, hoses, synthetic corks, etc.). If you are unsure, it would be wise to err on the side of caution and include the warning.
(b) What does the BPA warning sign say?
The BPA warning must use the exact language shown below: including the symbol (a black exclamation point within a yellow triangle) at least as large as the word “WARNING,” which must appear in uppercase, bold type. (The triangle symbol can be black and white if the sign is black and white.)
(c) Where must the BPA warning sign be posted?
1) on a posted sign, shelf tag or shelf sign at the point-of-display; or
2) with an automatic warning provided to the consumer prior to or during the purchase, that does not require the consumer to seek out the warning.
If the alcohol products being displayed or sold contain advertising or consumer information in a foreign language, the general alcohol warning and the BPA warning must also appear in that language, as well as English.
More information on the BPA requirements, including sign templates, can be found at the Wine Institute’s website here. Note that you can order free signs that are compliant, provided by Prop 65 Sign Management, as we noted in our earlier article.
This summary is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Any businesses selling alcoholic beverages in California should be aware of the impact of Prop 65 on their activity. If you have any questions, contact one of the attorneys at Strike & Techel.
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