FDA to tackle cosmetic microbiological safety issues with public meeting

By Andrew McDougall

- Last updated on GMT

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) will give stakeholders an opportunity to present information regarding a variety of cosmetic microbiological safety issues at a public meeting at the end of the month.

CFSAN's Office of Cosmetic and Colors is responsible for the federal regulation of cosmetic products in the US and will hold the meeting in Washington, D.C., on November 30, 2011.

The purpose of the meeting is to address a number of cosmetic microbiological safety issues, such as microbiological testing of cosmetics, types of preservative systems and how to test their effectiveness, the identity and prevalence of microorganisms that pose specific health risks in finished products, and routes of exposure to microorganisms and the corresponding infective doses.

In depth look at the issues

The meeting will also look at product and packaging characteristics that affect microbial growth and risk of infection, as well as consumer subpopulations that may be at greater risk of infection from cosmetic products.

FDA regulates cosmetics under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD Act) (21 U.S.C. 301 et seq.) and, for products marketed on a retail basis to consumers, under the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA) (15 U.S.C. 1451 et seq.).

The law requires that cosmetics must be safe for consumers under labeled or customary conditions of use and they must be properly labeled.

FDA states that microbial contamination of cosmetic products is of concern because of the potential for serious adverse events.

Serious adverse events

“Cosmetics intended to be used in the area of the eye are of particular concern. Eye-area cosmetics that contain pathogenic microorganisms have the potential to cause serious eye infections which can, in some cases, result in partial or total loss of vision,” ​explained an FDA statement.

“Other microbially contaminated cosmetic product types, such as skin lotions, also have the potential to cause significant irritation or infection.”

FDA believes that guidance on factors and practices to promote the microbiological safety of cosmetics would benefit consumers and industry.

It has not yet issued specific guidance on this area but claims it is contemplating developing such guidance and is using this meeting to seek information about microbiological safety of cosmetics.

The public meeting will be held from 9am to 5:30pm on November 30, 2011, at the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel, 480 L'Enfant Plaza S.W., Washington, D.C. with attendees encouraged to register in advance due to limited seating.

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