Georgia Issues “303” Tractor Hydraulic Fluid “Stop Sale” Order

FEBRUARY 21, 2018

Georgia has become the second state to issue a “stop sale” order for tractor hydraulic fluids (THFs) labeled as meeting the obsolete John Deere “303” specification. These THFs typically are marketed in the agricultural community as “economy” products.

The Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Fuels & Measures Division said that the “THF 303 specification was discontinued in 1974,” and it has directed that “all THF 303 labeled products shall be removed from sale within 180 days” or by August 11, 2018.

The State’s stop sale order notes that a manufacturer can correct THF 303 product labeling and resume the sale of the products “after such products are validated as meeting the current [John Deere] J20C or J20D performance specifications” or specifications set by OEMs or standards-setting groups such as ASTM and SAE.

“Momentum is picking up with weights and measures officials to ensure the proper labeling of lubricants, particularly engine oils, transmission fluids, and now tractor hydraulic fluids,” said ILMA CEO Holly Alfano. “There is no available specification for ‘economy’ tractor hydraulic fluids, so the state enforcers will be calling out these ‘303’ products as deceptive or having the effect of deceiving purchasers as to the quality of the products.”

Georgia joins Missouri in stopping the sale of “303” THFs. Missouri issued its stop sale order last November after determining that the obsolete John Deere specification had been unavailable for 43 years and that manufacturers and marketers could not validate the performance of their products.

“ILMA already has begun to engage state weights and measures officials on THFs,” Alfano added. “The Association agrees that products labeled, claimed or implied as meeting a particular specification, in fact, should meet that specification.”