China tightens labeling regulations

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Personal care, Cosmetics

Authorities in China are aiming to tighten personal care
manufacturer's product efficacy claims and tighten safety, as part
of the move to bring the country in line with international
regulations.

The Ministry of Health wants to outlaw spurious product claims that clearly cannot be met, which will see labeling such as' 100 per cent effective' and 'instantly effective' disappear, reports from the China news agency Xinhua said. The Ministry of Health wants to pass a regulation that will govern cosmetics labels and directions, stipulating that claims made by labels are both authentic and backed by independent scientific research. The new regulations will also be aimed at products claiming to have medical advantages or the ability to cure certain condition, and will not be able to make claims about success rate or the effectiveness in percentage terms. Likewise, the draft underlines the fact that cosmetic products are categorized as personal care items that include cleansing, deodorant, skin care and make-up, and are clearly banned from carrying misleading claims. Personal care products that contain potentially dangerous chemicals - specifically hair dye and depilatory products - and could cause adverse reactions, must carry a clear warning and instructions on how to avoid such a reaction. Further to this, the draft recommends that clear labeling must be used if a product contains any ingredients that are known to cause allergic or adverse reactions in certain individuals. The move towards tighter regulation is primarily aimed at domestic brands, which have traditionally been more sensational with their product claims, in view of regulation being more relaxed. However, with the opening up of the market to international brands, the increasingly savvy China consumers have become more aware of the spurious product claims made on domestic brands, adding to pressure for labeling requirements to fall in line with those made by international brands. In recent months industry experts have noted that there has been a distinct change in the spending patterns of China consumers, with a clear movement away from international brands towards domestic brands. This is said to have been caused by consumers seeking better value for money products and also reflects increasing confidence in less pricey domestic brands. Growth in the personal care segment in China has exploded in recent years. On the back of GDP that is currently growing at in excess of 11 per cent a year, the category has likewise reported double digit growth over the past few years and is currently valued at in excess of $10bn. The skin care market in China is currently leading all other segments. Fueled by massive economic growth and the shear size of the population, the market for professional skin care in China looks set to topple worldwide competition if current growth rates can be sustained. Growth in the market during 2006 came in at 15 per cent, which according to a new study entitled Professional Skin Care 2006: China, published by Kline & Company, easily outpaced other US and European markets - and is expected to be sustained during the course of the next five years.

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