The U.S. Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") has strict labeling requirements for cosmetic products. One area that consistently causes confusion among companies that distribute cosmetic products to countries on different continents is the area of labeling. Different products have different labeling requirements depending on the application of the product, the type of ingredient being labeled, the size of the product, and the country to which the product will be shipped. For example, the rules regarding how to describe color additives for products entering the U.S. are different than those for Canada and Europe.
Fortunately, it is possible to comply with the labeling requirements for the U.S. as well as Canada and Europe using only one label. In fact, it can even be accomplished with a product bearing a label as small as that of mascara. Accomplishing this is greatly beneficial to these companies because they can take advantage of economies of scale and taper production costs by merely having one label printed to be distributed to several countries. However, this is a delicate maneuver that, if not done properly, will likely result in seizure and detention by the FDA or a foreign country’s equivalent agency. This will cause delays in the shipments, and may cause civil penalties and forfeiture of the products.
To avoid this common mistake and take advantage of the fact that one label may be used throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe, you should contact an attorney well versed in the FDA regulations. Taking this precautionary measure is an investment in greater profits and peace of mind.