LEARN MORE ABOUT DOWNMARK® AND THE DOWN AND FEATHER INDUSTRY. HERE ARE THE MOST COMMON QUESTIONS WE RECEIVE.
ISN’T THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT SUPPOSED TO PROTECT CONSUMERS FROM FRAUD?
The Canadian government does have agencies in place to protect consumers from predatory and deceitful business practices. However, the extent to which these agencies can keep a close watch on the proliferation of fake down products in the market is limited. Instead, these agencies focus their efforts and resources mostly on issues that could potentially threaten or seriously harm Canadians.
At DOWNMARK®, we are committed to ensuring Canadian consumers can buy high quality down and feather products with confidence. We serve to support the efforts of the Canadian government by helping to protect consumers from fraudulent items and misleading labelling practices.
WHAT IS A LAW TAG?
A law tag is a label that the Canadian Government requires to be attached to all products with hidden fillings.
These tags provide details on the cover and filling materials, as well as the name and address of the manufacturer or a CA number. You can also locate the manufacturer’s information by looking up the CA number at CANADA'S COMPETITION BUREAU.
Items without the law tag are illegal and of higher risk of not meeting Canada’s high quality standards. To avoid potential quality issues never buy a product without a law tag.
CAN I FIND QUALITY DOWN PRODUCTS ON AMAZON, EBAY, OR OTHER INTERNET WEBSITES?
Purchasing products from internet sites requires due diligence to ensure the item is genuine and not falsely labelled. Amazon lists hundreds of millions of products; Ebay over a billion, so these platforms find it nearly impossible to block fakes. Therefore, you must be very careful, especially in light of the fact many product reviews are fake.
In our experience, many of the fraudulent products we find in the market today are from these internet retail sites and most often, these products do not even have a law tag. As it is almost impossible to enforce any standards and labelling requirements in the online channel, the best way to ensure your down product is genuine is to look for the DOWNMARK® label.
HOW DO I LEARN MORE ABOUT CANADA’S QUALITY STANDARDS FOR DOWN AND FEATHER PRODUCTS?
The Competition Bureau provides a lot of information on Canada’s quality standards and the labelling requirements for down and feather-filled products. To access this information visit CANADA'S COMPETITION BUREAU.
WHERE DOES DOWN AND FEATHER COME FROM?
Down and feathers are a by-product of the poultry industry. Geese and ducks are raised for food. The down and feathers that would otherwise be discarded are cleaned, processed, and used as fill for products such as apparel, bedding, and upholstery.
ARE THE BIRDS HURT IN ANY WAY WHEN THE DOWN AND FEATHERS ARE HARVESTED?
No. Down and feathers are removed only after the birds are slaughtered for their meat. Plucking a live bird is a cruel and inhumane practice, and requires costly manual labour and time. In our experience, this practice was used years ago on small, out-dated farms but has mostly disappeared due to advancements in technology. In today’s modern processing plants, carcasses can be mechanically plucked in seconds and has virtually eliminated the practice of live plucking.
DOES LIVE PLUCKING STILL HAPPEN?
Based on an independent study, an audit company found zero occurrences of live plucking while tracing the harvesting practices of several hundred supply companies over several years. Based on this research, live plucking does not happen in modern operations. It may occur on very small, out-dated farms that are still using antiquated harvesting methods but these types of suppliers are extremely rare.
It does not occur in modern operations. In all our research into this issue, it appears that it occurs very rarely on remote backwater farms with out of date methods.
HOW DOES DOWNMARK® HELP PREVENT LIVE PLUCKING?
DOWNMARK® is committed to ensuring ethical harvesting practices and as such, our certification process requires all our members to use only humanely sourced down and feathers materials. We do not permit live plucked or foie gras down.
Fortunately, due to the abundance of ethically harvested down and feathers, it is very easy for our members to avoid using materials acquired using inhumane methods.
HOW CAN I ENSURE THAT MY DOWN PRODUCT IS GENUINE?
The best way to ensure your product is authentic and made with genuine down and feather materials is to look for the DOWNMARK® label. This symbol of quality offers the assurance you need that the product meets our high quality standards.
Our certification program has strict requirements and enforcement is rigorous. In fact, our process also involves performing regular, random tests of DOWNMARK® - certified products to ensure they continue to meet our strict quality and labelling requirements. We’re pleased to say that in over 20 years, we have not found any misrepresentations of a DOWNMARK® product on the market.
HOW DOES DOWN COMPARE TO OTHER INSULATING MATERIALS?
Down is by far the warmest insulating material available and with proper care, it can last far longer than most other materials. In fact, we have seen some down samples that are still usable after 100+ years.
When compared with the average life span of synthetic materials - up to 2 years for pillows, and up to 5 years for duvets, coats, and sleeping bags – the value and benefits of down products is abundantly clear.
In addition, down is a natural and biodegradable material that offers many environment-friendly advantages. It is a renewable and reusable resource, and has by far the lowest carbon footprint when compared to all other insulating materials.
And what’s more exciting? We are now also seeing an increasing number of products made from recycled down entering the market.
DOES DOWNMARK® TEST PRODUCTS?
No. We send all down products to the International Down and Feather Laboratory (IDFL) in Utah, USA for testing. IDFL is recognized as the leading, independent testing laboratory in the world. In fact, both the Canadian and United States Governments entrust IDFL to conduct independent testing on their behalf.
WHAT IS DOWN FIBRE?
Down fibre is NOT down. Down fibre is dust. It is left over from down and feather processing. Down fiber is typically discarded by legitimate manufacturers as it is not suitable for use as a fill or insulating material.
Unfortunately we are starting to see an increasing number of products on the market that include down fiber as the fill material. It is important to know that down fiber is worthless. If you are looking for a genuine down product, be wary of products made from this material.