Skip to main content
Search Interpretations

Interpretation ID: 2630y

Mr. Heracilio R. Prieto
Easton Inc.
Road 870, KM 2.6, Palo Seco
Levittown, Puerto Rico 00949

Dear Mr. Prieto:

This responds to your letter asking about the marking and labeling requirements in Standard No. 116, Motor Vehicle Brake Fluids (49 CFR 571.116). You asked whether you could comply with the requirement in Standard No. 116 that each brake fluid container be labeled with a "serial number identifying the packaged lot and date of packaging" by means of a "label notch coding system," which you described as a mechanical device which permanently notches a label. Standard No. 116 does not prohibit the use of a label notch coding system provided that it is not susceptible to being torn. However, any label notch coding system must be permanent and unambiguous, and satisfy all other relevant provisions of the standard.

Section S5.2 of Standard No. 116 sets forth packaging and labeling requirements for brake fluid containers. Section S5.2.2.2 requires each packager of a brake fluid to include information that is either "marked" directly on the container or marked on a label that is "permanently affixed to the container." Section S5.2.2.2(a)-(g) sets forth the specific information that must appear directly on or be labeled on every brake fluid container. Section S5.2.2.2(d) requires that the container be marked with "a serial number identifying the packaged lot and date of packaging."

Information about the label notch coding system enclosed with your letter and samples of your notched labels show that you use the system known as "code-dating," which uses uniquely spaced notches to represent a code that can be translated into a packaging date by means of a "Codedge decoder card." With this number or date represented by notches, the number could be traced by the packager to the packaging date and lot number through its production quality control records. While the "Codedge" system only identifies the year of manufacturing by means of a single digit, your recent letter indicates that an additional notch will be added to identify the decade. With respect to the label notch coding system, if the notches clearly identified the packaged lot and date of packaging, the combination would be a "serial number" and would appear to comply with the requirement of S5.2.2.2(d).

I would also like to note that section 114 of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 1407) requires every manufacturer to certify that its products comply with all applicable safety standards. For this reason, this agency has no authority to approve, endorse, or offer assurances of compliance with respect to any system of labeling brake fluid containers.

I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact Marvin Shaw of my staff at this address or by telephone at (202) 366-2992.


Paul Jackson Rice Chief Counsel /ref:116 d:8/27/90