In August of 2012, the HSCG wrote a Citizen Petition to the FDA – Department of Health & Human Services, regarding the use of a PO Box in the place of a street address on a cosmetic label. We did this mainly for the safety of the small businesses that make up the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry as many of them operate out of their primary residence. In February of 2013, we received an interim response from FDA stating that they were still reviewing the request and had not reached a decision. The original petition as well as the supporting documentation can be viewed online at regulations.gov.
In November of 2014, we decided to send in a supplement letter to the petition to update FDA with our new name (the association changed from The Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild to The Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild in February of 2013) and our significant increase in membership (182% since the first petition). We again requested that a PO Box be allowed in the place of a street address on a cosmetic label.
We received a final response letter from FDA denying our request to change the current regulation. You can read the full letter here.
Even though the request was denied and the regulation will not change, there was some clarification on what constitutes a “telephone or city directory”. You need to pay close attention to this…
Under current regulation, the business name and address (full street address) of the person or business responsible for the product must be on every cosmetic label. The business address must include the street address, city, state and the ZIP code unless the business is listed in a current city or telephone directory under the business name. In the response letter from FDA dated November 14, 2014, they defined “city directory or current telephone directory” as both print AND online and that either would satisfy the option under the current regulation if the street address is not listed on a cosmetic label. They further offer the following examples of acceptable online directories that are “no cost or nominal cost” annually:
- http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com (currently $29.99/month)
- www.localpages.com (powered by Yext.com – currently $16/month for entry level)
- www.yellowbook.com (powered by hibu.com – charges vary)
- www.yellowbook360.com (powered by hibu.com – charges vary)
- http://business.thewebmap.com/ (powered by prweb.com – charges vary)
- www.yellowpages.com (FREE)
What this means for a small handcrafted soap and cosmetic business is that in order to meet the requirement under the regulation, to omit your street address, you would only need to list your business in one of these directories annually. It would be important to keep the listing up to date with current information.
On the one hand, we were disappointed that a PO Box was not accepted but it was nice to see that the FDA is taking advantage of the non-traditional directory options offered by the internet. On the whole, this is great news for our industry.