The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (the
ACCC) has recently recalled three cosmetic
products after a product safety survey indicated that the products
contained dangerous levels of microbial contamination. Microbial
contamination can cause diseases and serious infections.
The ACCC's survey tested 115 cosmetic products sold in both
physical stores and by online retailers, against
internationally-set recommended limits. The recalled cosmetic
products were: Nude by Nature Liquid Mineral Foundation, Australian
Lavender Essentials Eye Cream and Australian Lavender Essentials
Face Up, the Essential Moisturiser.
No penalties were imposed as the ACCC and the suppliers
negotiated recalls of the contaminated products. However, ACCC
Deputy Chair Delia Rickard reminded suppliers that
"consumers should be able to rely on the safety of
What does this mean for direct sellers?
Under the Australian Consumer Law (the ACL),
the Minister and the ACCC have the power to issue a recall notice
if a product presents a safety risk, or is non-compliant with a
mandatory safety standard or imposed ban. Whilst there is currently
no mandatory safety standard in relation to cosmetics, there is a
mandatory standard for ingredients labelling on cosmetics with
which any company selling cosmetics in Australia must comply.
If the selling company fails or refuses to comply with the
recall notice issued by the ACCC, an offence is committed under the
ACL and the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth). It is
also an offence if the selling company continues to supply the
goods that are the subject of the recall notice. In these
circumstances, a monetary penalty of up to $1.1 million for a
company may be imposed.
It is therefore essential that direct selling companies who
manufacture, distribute and sell cosmetic products are able to
ensure confidently themselves that they undertake hygienic
manufacturing practices and only use effective and safe
preservatives in their products.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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