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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #19-0059

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Midway USA

Individual Name: Bradley Spears

Location State: MO Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

August 15, 2019

Mr. Bradley Spears
Outbound Logistics Manager
5875 West Van Horn Tavern Road
Columbia, MO 65203

Reference No. 19-0059

Dear Mr. Spears:

This letter is in response to your May 10, 2019, letter and subsequent phone conversations requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to the requirements for specification markings on packagings. Specifically, you are seeking clarification on whether you may reproduce the United Nations (UN) specification marking on a printed label for a variation packaging. You state that you are shipping hazardous materials in cardboard boxes that are smaller than a tested specification box in accordance with Variation 4 in § 178.601(g)(4). You also state that your specification boxes are purchased from a manufacturer and then tested by a third-party testing lab. The test report is submitted to the manufacturer who then prints the UN specification markings on the boxes. Your company purchases the same type of boxes (same methods of construction, materials of construction, strength characteristics of materials of construction, method of closure, and material thickness) as the specification boxes, only smaller in external dimension, and would like to reproduce the specification marking for these variation boxes using a printed label. You state that the print on these labels meets the requirements of § 178.3(a)(4).

The answer is yes, provided the markings meet the applicable requirements of § 178.3 and § 178.503. In accordance with § 178.3(a)(3), "The markings must be stamped, embossed, burned, printed or otherwise marked on the packaging to provide adequate accessibility, permanency, contrast, and legibility so as to be readily apparent and understood." These printed labels must be able to maintain a level of permanency so as not to become illegible or compromised during conditions normally incident to transportation.

I hope this information is helpful. Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.


T. Glenn Foster
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

178.601(g)(4), 178.3(a)(4), 178.3, 178.503,  178.3(a)(3)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
178.3 Marking of packagings
178.503 Marking of packagings
178.601 General requirements