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Warning Label Regulation

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Why does a chainsaw carry a warning that it is sharp?

A British supermarket has pulled peanuts from its shelves because there was no warning label on the package, telling consumers that a package of nuts contains nuts. Makes you wonder where the warning label is for what a bureaucracy full of morons contains.

They’re on all products from hot coffee: caution, it’s hot, to kitchen knives, which may be sharp. Is there a legal regulation that governs them, or are they just for laughs.

The American National Standards Institute (it’s a thing. Who knew?) is the organization responsible for maintaining rules and regulations for safety symbols and product safety signs and labels. According to the ANSI, product warning labels are meant to inform the consumer what dangers exist and how to avoid the hazards. But a good lawyer will tell you that they’re really there to protect manufacturers from lawsuits by dumb consumers who can argue that they had not been told of the dangers, and so companies now put warnings even on products where the danger should be completely obvious to the dumbest among us.

As a result, most of us now skip right over the genuine warnings because they all seem so stupid – the opposite effect of protecting people from real potential dangers. Now that’s nuts.