'Made in the USA': Red, white and true?

(NPN) - When you make a purchase, do you look to see if an item was "Made in the USA"?

Buying American-made seems patriotic and helps the economy, but what do those claims really mean?

Sarah Wagner says all of the stuff on her table - her mix ware, her dinnerware - are all "Made in the USA."

"When you make the choice to buy something American-made, you're making the choice to support your country and communities and jobs around the United States." Wagner said.

Buying "American-made" is so critical for Wagner, she started the website USA Love List to help others find where they can buy items made in the good ol' USA.

"There is a lot out there that's still being made in America," Wagner said. "I think that's worth celebrating."

So, what exactly does "Made in the USA" mean?

"All, or virtually all, of the product is made in this country," said James Kohm, director of the Federal Trade Commission Enforcement Division.

The FTC is the go-to agency when it comes to defining just what is made in this country. It even policies products to make sure that companies' claims are accurate.

"The importance is what marketers say has to be truthful," Kohm said,

The FTC says it gets several hundred complaints a year, and the agency has taken action against several companies. In one case, officials say a company imported steel places that were already stamped "Made in the USA."

"What we want the public to know is that we're on the beat, that we're looking at these claims, that they can contact us if they see a false claim," Kohm said.

The FTC said a vast majority of "Made in the USA" claims are accurate, and the agency doesn't want to dissuade people from buying American.

But you can help the Feds by reporting anything that's suspicious.

"Sometimes, individuals will call if there's a sticker, and they peel off the sticker and see under the 'Made in the USA' sticker a 'Made in China' sticker," Kohm said.

And while the FTC makes sure you're getting the good stuff, Wagner also has the scoop on where to get the goods.

"It's a joy to put this information out there, because people are waiting for it and want to know what products to buy," she said.

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