Top 10: Biggest stories on APAC cosmetics regulation in 2019

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Top stories on cosmetic regulation in APAC. ©GettyImages
Top stories on cosmetic regulation in APAC. ©GettyImages

Related tags Regulation Apac

We round up our top stories on cosmetic regulation in APAC, featuring animal-testing, halal certification, adulterated cosmetics and more.

1 – It’s official: Australian Government passes bill to end animal testing for cosmetics

The Australian senate just passed a bill to effectively ban cosmetic testing on animals in Australia in a move that has been described as a ‘huge win’ for animals, consumers and science.

The government's Industrial Chemicals Bills 2017, includes measures to prohibit reliance on new animal test data for chemicals introduced into Australia for use as ingredients in cosmetics.

“This ban reflects both the global trend to end cosmetics cruelty, and the will of the Australian public which opposes using animals in the development of cosmetics,” ​said Hannah Stuart, HSI Campaign Manager for #BeCrueltyFree Australia.

We thank the Government for showing leadership on this important issue, and HSI will continue to work with them to implement the commitments and enforce a robust ban. This is a huge win for animals, consumers and science.”

2 – China’s new cosmetics regulations: Key points you need to know about CSAR developments

With China’s Cosmetic Supervision and Administration Regulation (CSAR) is expected to come into force by the end of the year, we have spoken to one expert to drill down into the need-to-know points for firms operating​ in the country.

China’s National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) published the draft version of the CSAR in 2018.

Speaking at ACA Leader’s Forum 2019, Jason Chan, Business Head, Global Cosmetic Division of REACH24H is optimistic it will come into effect by the end of the year.

Previously, the NMPA defined cosmetics as a “…daily-used chemical product intended to be applied on the surface of human body…”

However, the new draft has removed the requirement that it needs to be applied externally, potentially widening the scope of products.

Notably, oral care products such as toothpaste and mouthwash will come under this regulation but is exempt from the same the same level of required registration and filing.

3 — No delay: Indonesia will not be postponing compulsory halal label deadline

Indonesia’s compulsory halal certification and labelling will start on October 17 this year​ as planned, says officials, despite reports suggesting there could be delays

Head of Halal Product Assurance Agency (BPJPH), Sukoso, told Salaam Gateway that the reports were “misleading”.

The compulsory halal labelling law is part of Indonesia’s Islamic economy masterplan, which is scheduled to launch on March 26.

This plan will complement Indonesia’s 10-year Islamic finance masterplan, which was announced in 2016 to drive the growth of the country’s Shariah-compliant financial sector.

The goal, said Islamic financial education and research director Sutan Emir Hidayat, is for Indonesia to become a “prominent” epicentre for the Islamic economy. 

In order to achieve this, compulsory halal certification and labelling needs to begin as scheduled.

4 – Skin scandal: 13 Thai celebrities could face jail time over ‘misleading' Magic Skin ads

The Food and Drug Administration of Thailand is taking action against 13 local celebrities for their alleged roles in promoting unlicensed cosmetic and weight loss products from Magic Skin.

The Royal Thai Police has summoned them to hear charges for endorsing the products, which harmed almost 1,000 consumers.

During a press conference, FDA deputy chief Prapon Angtrakul said these 13 public figures could face imprisonment if found guilty.

Among them, 10 were being charged under the Cosmetics Act 2015 for promoting and exaggerating the effects of Mezzo Serum, reported The Nation.

The remaining three face charges for promoting products that violate the Food Act 1979.

Previously, 17 brand endorsers have been found guilty for their roles in promoting Magic Skin and were fined up to THB5,000 ($159) each.

5 – Animal testing ban still ‘unlikely’ even as China greenlights alternative processes fo cosmetic ingredients

China’s National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) has approved two animal-free cosmetic testing methods but it is still a long way from banning animal tests​ completely.

The NMPA drafted the acceptance of nine test methods including two animal-free tests: Direct Peptide Reaction Assay (DPRA) for Skin Sensitization and Short Time Exposure Assay (STE) for eye irritation.

From January 1, 2020, these tests will be the preferred toxicological tests for the registration and pre-market approval of cosmetic ingredients, but not final formulations.

While this is a significant step towards phasing out animal testing for the country, Erin Hill, president of the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS), does not think it will move to ban animal-testing in the near future.

“I feel that a ban on animal testing for cosmetics in China is unlikely in the near future for several reasons. Although the country is making great strides in building its infrastructure, it is going to take some time until there are enough proficient laboratories and approved alternative methods,” ​said Hill.

6 – Forever delayed? Australia’s postpones ban on animal testing for a third time to 2020

Australia has delayed efforts to ban cosmetic testing on animals for the third time​, pushing the deadline back to July 1, 2020.

The ban on cosmetic testing on animals is part of the Industrial Chemicals Bill, which aims to establish the Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS).

The National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) announced on January 11 that the deadline has been extended as legislation for the new scheme is expected to be debated in the senate in the first half of 2019.

Government amendments to change the commencement date will be addressed during that time.

“The Liberal National Government looks forward to implementing the ban on the testing of cosmetics on animals, that is included in the Industrial Chemicals Bill 2017. This ban will also commence on 1 July 2020,” ​it said in a statement.

NICNAS said that the delay would give them more time to assist the industry to adequately prepare for compliance with the new scheme.

7 – Cosmetics crackdown: Malaysian authorities bans 12 skin care products over safety concerns

Malaysia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) and National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Department (NPRA) has banned 12 skin care items as they were found to contain scheduled poisons.

The authorities have alerted retailers and consumers to refrain from selling and buying skin care products such as: 3rd Series Yanko Whitening Cream Night Cream, Clair De Lune – P.Tuberose Day Cream, Dnars Nien Cream, Glow Glowing N Glow, VSL Beauty Care and Dolly Glow Miracle Treatment Cream.

According to a press statement sent from the desk of director-general of health, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Bin Abdullah, notifications of the 12 items were promptly cancelled following the detection of the potentially harmful ingredients.

Notifications were held by six companies: Rohban Trade Sdn Bhd, Qalbu Ocean Enterprise, Qemrich Sdn Bhd, Nh Biz Resources, Lurveya Sdn Bhd and Laurustinus Sdn Bhd.

8 – Australian study supports the use of zinc oxide nanoparticles in sunscreens

A new study led by two Australian universities has found evidence that zinc oxide nanoparticles used in sunscreen does not cause cellular toxicity​ even after repeated applications.

The research found that zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles does not penetrate the skin, refuting claims about the safety of nanoparticulate-based sunscreens.

The study was published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology and led by the University of Queensland (UQ) and the University of South Australia (UniSA).

Despite the efficacy of ZnO as a sunscreen agent, there is a growing belief among consumers about its safety.

A 2017 National Sun Protection Survey by the Cancer Council Australia found that only 55% of Australians believed it was safe to use sunscreen every day, a drop from 61% in 2014.

The aim of the study was to investigate the truth behind the safety of sunscreens containing zinc.

9 – J&J India rejects government tests results that found formaldehyde in its baby shampoo

Johnson & Johnson has defended its No More Tears baby shampoo after tests conducted by the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan concluded that it found formaldehyde in its products.

The company has rejected the findings and asserted that its No More Tears does not contain any harmful ingredients.

“We do not accept the interim results given to us which mentioned samples to ‘contain harmful ingredients – identification positive for formaldehyde,’” ​it said in a statement.

It added: “We unequivocally maintain that our products are safe and our assurance process is amongst the most rigorous in the world, meeting or exceeding the safety standards in every country where our products are sold.”

J&J expressed concerns that the Indian government did not disclose the test methods, details or quantitative findings.

10 — Education, not regulation: More cosmetic rules not the way to battle ‘free from’ claims – HSA

The Health Science Authority of Singapore has no plans to follow the lead of the European regulators and prevent cosmetic companies from making ‘free from’ claims, preferring to place emphasis on consumer education.

Pang Tit Keong, deputy director of HSA’s cosmetics control unit was at a workshop held by Cosmetics, Toiletries & Fragrance Association of Singapore (CTFAS) this week to discuss the rampant misinformation of cosmetic ingredients and its detrimental effects to the industry.

Pang said that implementing more regulations was not a practical solution as it would not be feasible for HSA to assess every single cosmetic claim.

“We have 200,000 products notified with HSA. It will be overwhelming enough if half of them made natural claims.”

He added HSA was careful not to “over-regulate”​ the cosmetics industry. “We want to be fair to the industry. If the product does not contain certain things, I think it’s fine to want to say so. But that should not be your main emphasis on how to sell the product.”

Instead, HSA prefers to focus on education. However, he admitted that consumer education can be a very challenging task, especially when it is up against information found on the Internet.

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