Technical Marketing Active Concepts, LLC Lincolnton, North Carolina
Many professionals in the Cosmetic Industry are calling out the movement towards non-traditional “preservatives” as the reason for recent microbial contamination recalls. The goal of this investigation was to address the commonly used preservative systems involved in cosmetic recalls from January 2017-June 2019, as well as highlight the importance of proper plant hygiene to ultimately minimize the quantity of recalled products in the future. After examination and quantification of cosmetic recalls in the United States from January 2017-June 2019, over 94% of recalls due to microbial contamination are likely a result of poor plant hygiene, rather than ineffective preservative systems. A product that has been compromised before reaching the consumer would indicate premature contamination due to a hygiene malfunction within the manufacturing plant. Preservative systems are not designed to eradicate pre-existing contamination in a formulation, but rather, prevent contamination during consumer use.
87% of the 146 cosmetic products recalled from January 2017-June 2019 were due to microbial contamination. 94% of these recalled products deemed unsuitable for sale utilized a traditional preservative system, such as: parabens, formaldehyde releasers, phenoxyethanol, organic acids, etc. Alternative technologies for preservation, including leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate, xylitol or natural oils, were present in only 6% of products recalled for microbial contamination. With only 6% being non-traditional preservative systems, it cannot be true that non-traditional preservative systems are the reason for improperly preserved cosmetic formulations. The preponderance of recalls occur in systems with traditional preservative systems, making it clear that the issues lie with plant hygiene.