Cosmos standard outlines natural and organic labelling for finished products

By Andrew McDougall

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Standardization

The European harmonization project has outlined labelling criteria for natural and organic products to comply with the Cosmos standard, clamping down on claims made on packaging.

Speaking at the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit in Paris, Valerie Lemaire, certification department manager at EcoCert, explained that products under Cosmos' natural certification could have no claims related to organic ingredients or percentages are allowed on the front of the packaging.

However, companies may indicate the percentage of organic origin ingredients by weight in the total product, less water and minerals, on the back label, but it must be clear what the percentage refers to.

She stated that for products labeled with the term Cosmos-organic the percentage of organic origin ingredients must be indicated by weight in the total product, again less water and minerals.

She also explained that for the term organic to be in the product name, the total product must be at least 95 per cent organic.

The labeling criteria were outlined as part of Lemaire’s presentation on the latest developments in the Cosmos standard.

Cosmetic organic standard

The Cosmos standard was finalised in January this year, and application for certification, was also opened soon after.

The basis of the Cosmos standard will fall into two levels of certification for finished products: Cosmos-Natural and Cosmos-Organic.

There will also be five categories of ingredients; water; minerals; physically processed agro-ingredients; chemically processed agro-ingredients; and other ingredients.

The new standard will cover criteria regarding the origin and processing of ingredients, the composition of the total product, for example the organic percentage on physically and chemically processed agro-ingredients, and the storage manufacturing and packaging of the products.

The standard will also assess environmental management, such as waste, and the labeling and communication to ensure the organic percentage is displayed on the total product.

Striving towards a single worldwide standard

Lemaire explained that following the agreement and publication of the standard earlier this year, the Cosmos standard is currently harmonising its certification rules in order to strive towards a single worldwide standard.

The feeling from the industry is one of confusion regarding global certification, with many companies having to certify products specifically for one region but which may not pass criteria for other regions.

There is also doubt over definitions of natural and organic, and the European harmonization project, which was founded by three associations and two certification bodies including EcoCert, have stressed the need for transparency and the need for one common set of goals and criteria.

European harmonization project

The European harmonization project believes the experienced natural and organic cosmetics sector is best placed to set control and develop the standards for the sector.

Lemaire outlined the ambition to go further in sustainable development hopefully leading to one single standard for all stakeholders, avoiding future confusion.

When asked about existing products and how their claims will be certified, Lemaire responded by stating the new standard only applies to new products and there is a clause allowing products to be standardized nationally until 2014.

There will be a meeting in Brussels next week to discuss another Cosmos seal, following the introduction of the Cosmos logo for finalised products earlier this year.

Related topics: Formulation & Science

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