How compliant is your product labelling?

In an effort to keep its members up to date on regulations in the labelling of cosmetic and personal care products, the Cosmetic, Toiletry & Fragrance Association of South Africa (CTFA) recently hosted a series of one day seminars in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

Janine Wilson, the CTFA’s technical manager took attendees through the motions of current labelling requirements and why it is so important to be compliant. Discussing packaging control, she explained why certain guidelines have to be obeyed. ‘Regulators and governing bodies like the Medicines Control Council of South Africa, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the National Regulator for Compulsory Standards have put into place certain conditions in order to protect the consumer,’ she said.

How compliant_is_your_product_labelling‘From compulsory warnings for certain types of products and the correct use of metric measurements to accurate INCI listings and the inclusion of a local physical address on imported products, manufacturers and distributors need to ensure they’ve ticked all of the boxes when it comes to labelling on secondary and primary packaging.’

Consumers have the right to know what they are putting on their bodies, which is why accuracy in terms of the ingredients or INCI listing is so important. Wilson also noted that the INCI listing must be visible to the consumer at the point of sale, i.e. printed on the primary packaging and not tucked away on a packaging insert.

Considering how stringent the requirements are and the consequences of non-compliance – like having your products removed from shelf – members should send their packaging artwork to the CTFA before going to print, she advised. ‘I’m here to assist in making sure that INCI listings are technically correct and that your labelling is 100 per cent compliant,’ she commented.

Another interesting point of discussion was non-content claims, which are highly restricted at EU level. Wilson was supported by the ASA’s manager of dispute resolutions, Leon Grobler, in her statements concerning consumer consciousness and how non-content claims created unfair competition among brands. For example, you may neither claim ‘bleach-free’ as bleach shouldn’t be used in a cosmetic formulation in the first place, nor paraben-free, as there is no scientific evidence to substantiate the claim that parabens are harmful.

As a follow up, the CTFA will be hosting a one day workshop focusing specifically on global harmonised systems and the labelling of hazardous goods, either in April or May 2014. For more information, visit or email Janine Wilson on


Image caption: The group of delegates who attended the CTFA labelling seminar in Johannesburg.

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