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Cosmetics industry to get regulatory makeover

| Legislation

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi plans to roll out new regulations for the labelling of cosmetics in SA. The proposed regulations‚ which have been published in the Government Gazette for public scrutiny‚ aim to bring about better "regulatory oversight" over cosmetics sold in the country.

Among the proposed amendments are that manufacturers‚ packers‚ distributors‚ importers or any person on whose behalf a cosmetic is packed‚ must refrain from making claims such as "clinically proven"‚ or "recommended by doctors" without evidence to substantiate the claims.

The country’s current cosmetic regulations date back to 1972‚ according to the Registrar for Medicines at the Department of Health (DoH)‚ Joey Gouws. As they stand now‚ some "everyday" products are on the shelves "illegally".

"At this point in time‚ all hair dye in our country is illegal because the cosmetics regulations of 1972 prohibits the ingredients that appear in hair dye‚" said Gouws.

The proposed changes will bring cosmetics regulations in SA in line with international best practices.

"If you look at our South African public‚ they can be really vulnerable‚ if you see the words ‘clinically proven’ or that the doctors recommend this‚ you will think in your mind that this is then a safe product‚" said Gouws.

"If there is no scientific or proven data that has been researched by a medical practitioner or there is no clinical data that proves that it ‘takes away wrinkles’ for example‚ then you are misleading the public‚" she said.

In addition‚ Gouws added that in the past there was no legislation to say that ingredients had to be placed on the label of cosmetic products.

"If you look at the international products coming into the country‚ because they are being sold internationally they are subject to international legislation‚ they have the ingredients on the label of the product.

"When you look at the products manufactured in our country and the fact that we did not have any labelling requirements‚ to put all the ingredients on the label‚ the South African manufacturer could get away with murder‚" she said.

"Quite often‚ consumers are allergic to specific substances then they cannot make an informed decision‚" Gouws added.

The DoH has been working closely with the Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CTFA) to update the regulations‚ making it easier for cosmetics to come into the country.

Technical manager at the CTFA‚ Judy Nobin‚ said that the proposal by the minister would strengthen the current regulations.

"The CTFA’s role and responsibilities are to support and develop a sustainable and compliant South African cosmetic industry by proactively stimulating actions and developing tools that contribute to its growth and the progress of its members as well as promoting consumer safety‚" Nobin said.

"These are draft regulations and the CTFA will be working with its members to submit comments to the department of health for potential amendment‚" Nobin said.

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