Is your product label compliant with the labeling requirements of the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA)? Strict guidelines were put in place by Congress to protect consumers from products that are potentially unsafe and deceptively labeled, and to make sure the product labels and packaging are providing consumers with accurate information.
While the FDA regulates beauty and cosmetic products, it places much of the responsibility on the makers. Let’s take a closer look at what goes on the label so you can provide your consumers accurate information about your product and help you build a trustworthy brand.
Principal Display Panel (PDP)
This is the part of the label that is shown or examined under customary conditions for retail sale, according to the FDA. The information shown here should include:
- The name of the product
- The identity
- Net quantity of contents
Additional information not on the PDP is included on the information panel, where the consumer can easily see it:
- Directions for safe use
- Warning and caution disclosures
- Name and place of business
- Any other required information
For more information on labeling requirements under US laws and related regulations, read the Cosmetics Labeling Guide from the FDA.
Product Labeling Symbols
So how does all that information fit on your product label? Here are some symbols to consider that can help communicate more information to your consumers:
The Period After Opening (PAO) symbol is the open jar icon, which indicates how many months the product will be good after it’s been opened. This is on products typically with a shelf life of 30 months or more.
Best before date
For products with a lifespan of less than 30 months, an hourglass icon and a “best before end of,” or BBE, date is displayed.
The lowercase “e” is known as the estimated sign, or e-mark. It is required by the EU and basically indicates that the quantity of the product in a batch of packages is the same as what’s stated on the label.
Refer to insert
When there’s required information such as ingredients and instructions to provide (and sometimes in multiple languages) but not enough room to do so on the packaging, this symbol lets the consumer know there’s a leaflet, card or other insert to refer to inside the packaging.
Responsibility for packaging
The Green Dot trademark indicates the manufacturer financially contributes to a recycling organization to manage its packaging waste in an ecologically responsible manner. It is not a recycling symbol.
Responsible forest management
The Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) trademark indicates the paper the company uses, typically for their packaging, come from responsible sources. Use of the logo requires authorization and license code from the FSC.
The Organic Seal indicates the product has met strict production and labeling requirements of the USDA, and the final product is certified. Selling a product as “organic” when it is not can run a company fines of up to $11,000 for each violation.
US Public Health Service seal
Products bearing the U.S. Public Health Service seal must contain 70% organic ingredients and follow strict guidelines for manufacturing and processing, according to today.com.
PETA runs the well-known Beauty Without Bunnies certification program, but they’re not the only one. The Leaping Bunny is another internationally recognized certification program, and upholds a stricter program and mandatory audits.
Body care standards
Whole Foods developed strict baseline body care standards in quality sourcing, environmental impact and other categories in order for these products to earn the Premium Body Care logo. They’ve also identified more than 400 ingredients deemed unacceptable.
Full label disclosure
The Environmental Working Group, or EWG, established the EWG VERTIFIED™ mark to indicate the product meets the strictest standards – and participates in full transparency—when it comes to harmful chemicals.
To earn the Non-GMO Project Verified seal, products must complete third-party verification, the highest-quality system, for their product labeling and certifications. It ensures products have been thoroughly evaluated by an independent party for compliance.
The Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) leads a strict gluten-free certification program, inspecting products and manufacturing facilities for the presence of gluten. Products bearing the gluten-free symbol must be certified by a third party to earn certification.
For more information on how to read beauty and cosmetic product labels, visit today.com.
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