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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 #19-0128

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Tyson Foods

Individual Name: Carolyn Griffith

Location State: AZ Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

April 6, 2020

Ms. Carolyn J. Griffith
Training Manager
Environmental Services
Tyson Foods
2200 Don Tyson Parkway
Springdale, AR  72762

Reference No. 19-0128

Dear Ms. Griffith:

This letter is in response to your November 12, 2019, email requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to nine images that Tyson's Foods, Inc., developed to indicate which chemicals in its possession can and cannot be stored together. Specifically, you ask whether these images conflict with the HMR.

You enclosed a black-and-white copy of the nine circular images, which contain a variety of graphics, letters, and colors designed to represent classes of chemical substances and compounds or to denote basic health and compatibility risks. These images are titled "acid," "base," "flammable," "not reactive," "health hazard," "oxidizer," "oxidizer acid," "oxidizer base," and "incompatible with all." You state your employer wants these images to remain on its packages when they are transported in commerce, use the flammable image for products that meet the U.S. Department of Transportation’s definitions for materials that are "flammable," and not use these images to replace hazard communication or international Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals information. You did not provide the specific size and color of these images, whether they appear without the black outline and title you provided, how the images indicate the physical state of the material, and where the images would be placed on the package.

The HMR prohibit a person from offering or transporting a package bearing a marking, label, or placard that can by its color, design, or shape be confused with or conflict with a label or placard prescribed in the HMR (see §§ 172.401(b) and 172.502(a)(2)). Based on the information you provided, it is the opinion of this Office that your company's "flammable" image is very similar to, and may be confused with, those the HMR prescribe for flammable gas and flammable liquid labels and placards. See §§ 172.417 and 172.419, and §§ 172.532 and 172.542, respectively. Therefore, it is the opinion of this Office that the flammable image you provided may not be used when transporting hazardous materials in commerce under the HMR, unless the material meets the definition of a flammable liquid or flammable gas and the hazard class or division of the material is provided. It is also the opinion of this Office that the other images you provided do not conflict with the labels and placards in the HMR and may be used for the purposes you describe.

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


Shane Kelley
Director, Standards and Rulemaking Division
Office of Hazardous Materials Safety

172.401(b), 172.417, 172.419, 172.502(a)(2), 172.532 ,172.542,

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
172.401 Prohibited labeling
172.417 FLAMMABLE GAS label
172.419 FLAMMABLE LIQUID label
172.502 Prohibited and permissive placarding
172.532 FLAMMABLE GAS placard