Aloe Vera substitutes spark lawsuits against private label skin care brands

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Aloe vera Cosmetics

Aloe Vera substitutes spark lawsuits against private label skin care brands
Wal-Mart, Target, and CVS are expected to face class action suits following an investigation by Bloomberg News that found those stores' own brands of Aloe Vera personal care products were formulated without any Aloe.

This revelation calls ingredient purity and quality into question at a time when personal care and cosmetic consumers scrutinize product formulations more than ever. And as science communicator Louise Hidinger recently told Cosmetics Design ​(in an item about consumer knowledge of chemical safety and efficacy), “the beauty industry already has a serious trust deficit with the public,” ​an assessment that resonates here too.

Bad news

Working with an anonymous lab, Bloomberg News tested four products: Equate Aloe After Sun Gel from Wal-Mart, Up & Up Aloe Vera Gel from Target, CVS Aftersun Aloe Vera Moisturizing Gel, and Walgreens Alcohol Free Aloe Vera Body Gel.

In testing, the latter was determined to contain just one chemical marker of Aloe, as Lydia Mulvany and Zeke Faux reported on the Chicago Tribune site yesterday, making it difficult to rule Aloe in or out as an ingredient in the gel.

Tests on other three gels turned up none of Aloe’s chemical markers, not acemannan, not malic acid, not glucose.

Supply side

The private label aloe gels sold at Wal-Mart, Target, and Walgreens are all made by Fruit of the Earth. That company’s general counsel John Dondrea told Bloomberg News, “we've been in the business a long time and we know where the raw ingredients come from,” ​adding, “we stand behind our products.”

According to Mulvany and Faux, Concentrated Aloe Corp supplies Fruit of the Earth with its Aloe. (After contacting those companies, Bloomberg News reports they both dispute the testing results. Target had no comment. And, Wal-Mart, CVS, and Walgreens “said their suppliers confirmed to them that their products were authentic.”​)

Product Quest Manufacturing makes the CVS gel product and did not reveal their supplier, when asked by Bloomberg.

Legal action

Class action suits are in the works, representing consumers who were misled by the products. As it stands, at least ten law firms have filed complaints in the matter.

The retailers, as Bloomberg News reports, have all denied the allegations.

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