Roll That Tape!

If we didn’t have the pleasure of your attendance at this year’s conference and if you weren’t glued to your Facebook feed, you may have missed the news! (If you’re on a reader, click here.)

Late last year, the HSCG was approached by PTV-In Focus Studios to create a short documentary about handcrafted soap and soapmaking for public television. We leapt at the chance to spread the word about handcrafted soap. From the moment of our acceptance, it was off to races to write a script, secure talent, and shoot the actual footage!

Remember when we mysteriously requested soap? Yup, it was for this documentary. We received hundreds of bars from members and sent as many as we could to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for use in the video. With soap, supplies, script and our on-air talent on-hand, we spent about a day filming. From there, the production studio edited the footage and assembled the final video.

The segment, called “In Focus – with Martin Sheen”, has aired on Fox Business Network and PBS nationally and will run several hundred times this year. You can view the video on our home page and right here. Feel free to share this with customers and spread the word about handcrafted soap.

Many thanks to our members, who donated soap for this video, supplies for demonstrations, and their time in filming. Thank you especially to Wholesale Supplies Plus and Bramble Berry, for donations of soapmaking supplies…and thanks to Marla Bosworth and Kevin Dunn, who you will see onscreen, for contributing your expertise and time to the project! Check out all the members who donated soap here.

Did you catch our documentary? What should we cover next?

Share Your Voice: US Labeling

The HSMG has submitted a petition that needs your voice.

In mid-2012, the HSMG submitted a citizen’s petition to the US FDA requesting a change in the law to make a PO box acceptable on cosmetic product labels in lieu of a street address.  The FDA confirmed receipt in August and has been collecting public comments on the petition prior to issuing a response, expected in the first quarter of 2013.

MLK March 2Photo by Flickr member Jeffrey Smith. Used under a Creative Commons License

Current FDA regulations state that the business name and address must be on the product label. The business street address is required unless the business is listed in a printed city directory or telephone directory, in which case only the city, state and zip code are required on the product label.

Why You Care

The issue of being required to put your street address on your product labels has been brought to our attention many times over the past year. The general consensus is that this requirement poses an inconvenience and a safety risk to those with home-based businesses.  Due to safety concerns and changes in the ways consumers search for business info, we believe allowing a PO box on cosmetic labels to be good common sense while mitigating some of the security risks that soapmakers undertake today in publishing their street addresses on product labels.

Share Your Voice

Here’s where we need your help.  The FDA is still collecting comments on this petition, so your thoughts and real-life examples will help determine the future of our PO box request.  Go to the petition here and click “Comment Now!” to submit your comment.

Find out more:

>>For an in-depth explanation, see Anne-Marie’s post on the Soap Queen blog.

>>Read the petition in full here.

Let the FDA know how you feel about the current labeling requirements!

From The President – Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010

On July 20th, a new bill was introduced, H.R. 5786, The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 by representatives Schakowsky (D-IL), Markey (D-MA) and Baldwin (D-WI).

Read the entire bill here.  (47 pages)

This bill is intended to amend the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to ensure the safe use of cosmetics, and for other purposes.

IF the bill passed in this format, this is what if would mean for your business:

Who does this bill affect?

Any establishment located in any state that manufactures, packages or distributes cosmetics.

Any foreign establishment that exports cosmetics to the United States without further processing or packaging outside the United States.

How will it affect your business?

Mandatory Registration

Any establishment as defined above will have to register with the Secretary (the FDA) by providing the following information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Trade Names
  • Description of Activities
  • Number of Workers Employed
  • Gross receipt of Sales
  • Names and Addresses of any suppliers of ingredients

Any changes to the registration will be made within 60 days.

Once the registration is completed the establishment will be assigned a registration number.

The FDA will maintain a list of establishments that are registered and this list will become public information.

Any establishment that fails to provide complete information of fails to register will be removed or suspended.

(Currently the FDA has a Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program (VCRP) this bill would make registration mandatory and require further information).

Registration Fees

A fee schedule will be determined by the FDA.  All companies with annual gross receipts of less than $1M will not be assessed a fee.

(Although the fees will not directly affect you, it may affect your suppliers or their suppliers and will have a trickle down affect to the end user).

Product Labeling

All products will be labeled with the name of each ingredient in descending order of predominance.  A contaminant or trace element is not required to be listed if the contaminant is present at levels below technically feasible detection limits.

All products sold in e-Commerce will now be required to have an ingredient list on the website as well as the product label.  This includes the establishment’s website as well as the websites of their distributors.

List of Ingredients

The FDA will keep a list of ingredients that are prohibited or restricted for use in cosmetics and continually update that list.  The list will be ingredients that are known to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, or have reproductive and developmental toxicity, based on information from the following:

  • The Environmental Protection Agency
  • The International Agency for Research on Cancer
  • The National Toxicity Program through the National Institutes of Health
  • The California Environmental Protection Agency
  • Other authoritative international, Federal, and State entities (as determined by the Secretary)

(It will be the responsibility of the manufacturer to keep up with what is on the list and what is added to the list, at this time it is not clear how this list will be maintained and in what format).

Safety Statements

Eighteen months after the date of enactment of the Act, each manufacturer shall submit a statement signed by the CEO, based on available information after a good faith inquiry, that –

  • The cosmetic and its ingredients meet the safety standard; or
  • There is insufficient data to determine whether the cosmetic and its ingredients meet the safety standard.

(This will be done for each product that you sell, it is not clear what is done in the case of a product that has insufficient data).

Registration of Products

Each manufacturer shall submit electronically each cosmetic manufactured in the establishment that is intended to be marketed in the United States a statement containing:

  • The registration number of the manufacturing establishment.
  • The registration number of the establishment responsible for distributing the cosmetic.
  • The brand name and the product name for the cosmetic.
  • The applicable use for the cosmetic.
  • The ingredient list as it appears on the cosmetic label of insert, including the particle size of any nanoscale cosmetic ingredients.
  • Any warnings and directions for use from the cosmetic label or insert; and
  • The title and full contact information for the individual responsible for submitting and maintaining such statements.

Any changes will be made in a timely manner and notification will be made to the Secretary.

Each statement will be assigned a cosmetic statement number by the Secretary upon submission.

(This means EVERY product that you manufacture and market to the public which will limit your ability to change and try new products on short notice).

Reporting of Adverse Health Effects

All reports of adverse health effects shall be made within 15 business days of the event.

The content of the report shall include:

  • An identifiable patient.
  • An identifiable report.
  • A suspect cosmetic.
  • A serious and unexpected adverse event.

Confidential Information

All information submitted to the Secretary shall be deemed public information and nonconfidential with the exception of the concentration of cosmetic ingredients used in a finished cosmetic.

At the 2010 Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, the membership passed a legislative advocacy statement:

“The position of The Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild is to act as an advocate in all areas that affect the manufacture, sale and distribution of handcrafted soap as defined by HSMG Policy 2005-04-28 Position Statement.  Handcrafted soap under these definitions can be either a soap or a cosmetic depending upon how it’s formulated and labeled.”

The FDA’s website has a page with a very good definition of whether your soap is a soap or a cosmetic.  To re-educate yourself click here.

It is the position of the HSMG that H.R. 5786, The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010

  • Is poorly written and confusing.
  • Places too much of a financial burden on small business.
  • Over regulates an already safe industry.
  • Destroys the creativity and flexibility of small handcrafted soap manufacturers.
  • Creates further job loss and loss of local revenue in already tough economic times.

Therefore, the HSMG is against H.R. 5786 The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 as written.

Leigh O’Donnell

HSMG President