The body says that test results carried out on leading make-up products sold by eight companies in the country showed that none of the product formulae it tested proved to be 100 percent organic, according to a report in the China Post.
In response, the CF is pushing the country’s Food and Drug Administration to legally require that companies substantiate and prove organic claims on personal care products and clearly label such claims.
If successful, the move is likely to lead to significant changes in the way organic personal care is regulated and labeled. This is also the first such move in the Asia Pacific region and one that could set a precedent.
Setting a precedent in the Asia Pacific region
As Organic Monitor founder Amarjit Sahota pointed out, currently there are regulations governing organic products in markets such as Japan and South Korea, but these are only used to govern food products.
“Organic Monitor sees the Taiwanese government's move as something that could pre-empt other Asian governments to take similar action in their countries,” Sahota told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com.
According to the CF report, all of the products tested failed to provide an adequate explanation on the product labeling to describe exactly what percentage of the ingredients used in the formula were organic.
Unsubstantiated product claims
Likewise, the report also outlined that five of the companies involved in the testing were marketing products as organic without using any certification on the labels, while companies were also singled out as using online adverts campaigns found to violate marketing laws.
Further criticizing the labeling of such products, the CF also noted that many of the ingredient details were written in scientific English, that presumably would not be accessible to many Taiwanese consumers.
The body is concerned that the marketing of organic personal care products is leading many consumers to believe that the formulation of these type of products comprises 100 percent organic ingredients, when this is rarely the case.
Recommendations may favor European companies
If the recommendations by the CF do lead to changes in the way organic personal care products are regulated in Taiwan, Sahota believes that it will be European companies who will be best placed to deal with the changes.
“Very few products of American and Australian companies are certified, whereas most European brands are certified,” he said. “This means that European companies, such as Dr. Hauschka and Weleda, could capitalize on the ruling since they have certified products.”.
“In the long run, American brands will have to take the certification route as this is becoming increasingly important in their home market (e.g. Whole Foods Market demanding certified products) and in export markets.”