Sunday, December 05, 2004

Canada now requires truth-in-labeling for cosmetics

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OTTAWA - Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh announced today amendments to the Cosmetic Regulations which will require all cosmetic products sold in Canada to list the ingredients on the label. A two-year implementation period has been allowed for industry to comply with the new requirements. These regulations were published in Canada Gazette, Part II, on December 1, 2004. They will come into force on November 16, 2006.

"Mandatory labelling of cosmetic ingredients will increase consumer safety by allowing the public to make more informed choices when selecting cosmetic products," said Minister Dosanjh. "This will enable medical professionals to refer to a common chemical name for the purpose of treatment and incidence reporting, and will also enable the public to easily identify ingredients to which they may have sensitivities. This initiative will also harmonize our cosmetic labelling with many of our trading partners."

Cosmetics are defined as "any substance or mixture of substances manufactured, sold or represented for use in cleansing, improving or altering the complexion, skin, hair or teeth and includes deodorants and perfumes." Estimated sales of cosmetics in Canada total over $5.3 billion annually. All of these products, including both beauty preparations (make-up, perfume, skin cream, nail polish) and grooming aids (soap, shampoo, deodorant) will be required to meet the new regulations.

Under the proposed amendments, ingredients must be disclosed on the cosmetic labels using recognized names from the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) system (as found in the International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook, Tenth Edition). INCI is used in the United States, the European Union, Japan, and many other countries.

Health Canada has consulted a broad spectrum of Canadians over several years, including industry, consumer groups, and medical professionals. Medical professionals, such as dermatologists, and consumer groups strongly support ingredient disclosure. The industry is similarly supportive of the regulatory amendment because it will result in more uniform international labelling requirements.

The new regulations can be found on the Canada Gazette Web site.

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