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Natural Cosmetics Act – Defining “Natural” vs “Naturally-Derived”

A landmark bill introduced by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney at the 116th U.S. Congress aims to amend the 1938 Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act such that cosmetics with packaging or labeling using the term “natural” will be considered as misbranded if they do not meet certain standards.

Under the Act, cosmetics labeled, sold or represented as “natural” must have at least 70 percent natural substances other than water and salt and have no fragrance ingredient other than a natural substance or naturally-derived ingredient, among other standards.

screening natural ingredients in cosmetics

Natural vs Naturally-Derived Ingredients

The bill defines “natural” as any chemical substance that is naturally occurring and which is (a) unprocessed, (b) processed only by manual, mechanical, naturally derived solvent or gravitational means, by dissolution in water or steam, by flotation, or by heating solely to remove water; or (c) extracted from air by any means.

A “naturally-derived ingredient” can be:

  • any substance where the starting material is of mineral, plant, microbe, or animal origin but has been chemically processed;
  • any substance where the starting material is of mineral, plant, microbe, or animal origin but has been chemically processed and combined with other ingredients, excluding petroleum and fossil fuel-derived ingredients; or
  • an ingredient that is derived from a plant feedstock and bio-manufactured using processes like fermentation, saponification, condensation, or esterification in order to improve performance or make the ingredient biodegradable or sustainable.

Any manufacturer or distributor of cosmetics labeled as “natural” will be required to maintain records verifying such claim including carbon-14 testing results, which provide data on the biomass-sourced versus fossil-derived composition of the product.

The Natural Cosmetics Act also aims to give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to issue an order to cease distribution of, or to recall, misbranded cosmetic products.

As of December 3, 2019, the bill was co-sponsored by seven other representatives from California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan and New York.

Source: H.R. 5017 – Congressional Record Volume 165, Number 179

This entry was posted on Friday, December 27th, 2019 and is filed under Natural Product Testing .