SOUTH AFRICAoperates in a self- regulatory environment in terms of the regulation of cosmetics, toiletries and fragrances. The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CTFA) has formed various working groups that operate on a project management basis and seek to align the South African self-regulatory environment with international norms. This is in order to ensure the safety of the consumer, keep up to date with latest developments, embrace global harmonisation and to overcome potential barriers to trade.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is an independent body set up and paid for by the marketing communications industry to regulate advertising in the public interest through a system of self-regulation.
The ASA works closely with government, statutory bodies, consumer organisations and the industry to ensure that the content of advertising meets the requirements of the Code of Advertising Practice. Appendix C to this Code, developed by various CTFA Working Groups (WGs), relates to the cosmetic industry and states the following with regards to ‘naturals’:
‘The word “natural” shall not be used on the label of or with reference to a cosmetic:
as part of the name in relation to a processed or manufactured cosmetic and shall nor be used to qualify the name or trade name thereof;
to describe the ingredients of a mixed, compounded or blended cosmetic unless all the ingredients thereof occur in nature or have not been manufactured or processed. The inclusion of one or more ingredients derived from “natural sources” cannot imply that the entire product is of natural origin.’
‘Essentially,’ says Jill Gardiner, technical director of the CTFA, ‘this means that if the message to the consumer is that a product (which contains only some “natural” ingredients) is completely/100% natural, then the claim will not be allowed. This is an industry norm in SA and has been for many years.’
When it comes to the regulation of cosmetics, SA generally follows EU guidelines. ‘This is where the challenge comes in,’ says Gardiner. ‘There is no specific established body in the EU that defines what constitutes a natural or organic product, although Ecocert is widely recognised in Europe. The industry is looking to achieve a global, harmonised standard, but even the International Standards Organisation (ISO) under TC 217 ‘Cosmetics’ is reluctant to tackle and define the concepts of ‘natural’ and ‘organic’. Standards are given a three year development period and this is clearly a debate that could go on for a lifetime.’
Thus, before the industry can benefit from global ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ standards, both the EU and the US must come to a consensus within their own markets. ‘This is not something that will happen overnight,’ says Gardiner, ‘and in the meantime, South African manufacturers need to comply with the ASA Code of Practice Appendix C, which was drafted in co-operation with the CTFA, in order to level the playing fields and to protect consumers against misleading claims.’ CTFA: Tel 011 795 4272 Article published with permission from P & C Review www.pharmacos.co.za