More Regulation for the Cosmetic Industry?

More Regulation for the Cosmetic Industry?

Cosmetic packagers have much more freedom from FDA regulations than other products, such as pharmaceuticals or foods and beverages.  But given the new EU regulations that have recently come out tightening cosmetic oversight, it seems likely that the FDA will follow suit to some degree for those packaging cosmetics in the United States.

For the most part, the cosmetic industry in the U.S. is a self-regulated industry, though there are some exceptions.  According to a recent article in Packaging World, the FDA asks cosmetic companies to voluntarily register themselves with the agency and voluntarily file ingredient statements.  It is thought that about a third of the manufacturers have filed such statements.  In addition, cosmetic companies in the United States are under no obligation to report adverse reactions to thier products.   

Under the new EU regulations, each product will follow a mandate, including keeping a product information file with specific data regarding GMP's, safety and proof of claimed effects of the product.  The new regulations also included a ban on products and ingredients that are tested on animals and places responsibility on the company to provide measures for recalls and violations while adding a country of origin requirement to labeling.

The new EU regulations arguably create a large gap between manufacturing and packaging cosmetics in the U.S. and overseas.  While the lack of oversight in the U.S. may encourage cosmetic companies to operate within its borders, it also raises questions of product safety.  In addition, the FDA stated that their new GMPs are part of an attempt to align cosmetic standards worldwide, but it would appear that the standards are still wide apart.

As a packaging machine manufacturer, we are not directly affected by these regulations, but global standards, or the lack thereof, can have an affect indirectly.  Differing regulations, standards or practices can lead to varying manufacturing techniques for filling machines, capping machines, container cleaning machines and other packaging equipment.  Global standards are not only easier to enforce but create guidelines that can be understood and followed by all of those assisting in getting cosmetic products on the shelf for the consumer.  While the gap in standards still exists today, we would expect to see the FDA tighten their grip on the industry in the near future.

For additional information on the possibility of future change, check out Eric F. Greenberg's article in Packaging World.