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LOS ANGELES, CA—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers stationed at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport, in collaboration with Import Specialists from the Machinery Center of Excellence and Expertise (Machinery Center), recently confiscated 3,940 counterfeit water filters featuring unauthorized National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) logos. The seized filters, if genuine, would have had an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $149,681.
During a routine examination of a mixed ocean freight shipment arriving from China, CBP officers discovered the counterfeit filters. Following confirmation from Machinery Center Import Specialists that the filters bore unauthorized NSF certification marks recorded for border enforcement through CBP’s e-Recordation program, the items were seized on April 10.
Carlos C. Martel, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles, cautioned consumers purchasing water filters from e-commerce platforms, highlighting the difficulty in identifying fraudulent products with copied certifications. He advised consumers to ensure they purchase these items only from legitimate sources to protect their families.
NSF International, an accredited third-party certification body, tests and evaluates products based on public health and safety standards. Products certified by NSF must undergo rigorous testing, evaluation, and compliance with specific standards, policies, and procedures before being authorized to bear the NSF certification mark.
Counterfeit refrigerator water filters pose a significant risk to consumer health and safety, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). The counterfeit filters often employ copied trademarks, branding, and misleading claims, making them appear legitimate. However, tests conducted on the seized counterfeit filters revealed their failure to remove lead and other hazardous chemicals from water, despite the water’s normal appearance, smell, or taste.
Susan S. Thomas, CBP Acting Port Director of the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport, emphasized the significant resources committed by CBP to detect, intercept, seize, and destroy fraudulent and potentially hazardous household products. Safeguarding the health and safety of American consumers remains a top priority for CBP at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport.
From February 2021 to the present, CBP at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport has seized a total of 67,342 counterfeit replacement refrigerator water filters, under-sink ion exchange filters, pool and spa filters, and water bottle filters. These seized filters, collectively valued at an MSRP of $3,216,900, underscore the ongoing efforts to combat counterfeit products.
CBP officers collaborated closely with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agents from the Trade Enforcement Coordination Center (TECC) to identify potential violators involved in importing these fraudulent water filters.
On a national scale in fiscal year (FY) 2022, CBP seized approximately 21,000 shipments consisting of 25 million individual goods that violated intellectual property rights. The combined MSRP value of the seized goods, had they been authentic, was nearly $3 billion.