A Sydney cosmetics manufacturer, Environmental Marketing Pty Ltd, has admitted to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission that ingredients listed on the packaging of some of its EnviroCare brand products were incomplete and incorrect.

They also did not comply with the mandatory Trade Practices (Consumer Product Information Standards) (Cosmetics) Regulations 1991.

"The regulations are intended to ensure accurate and adequate disclosure of ingredients to consumers", ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel, said today.

"This is particularly important for those who may suffer from allergic reactions.

"Ingredients must be listed on the container, or on the product itself if the product is not packed in a container, or alternatively a list of ingredients must be available to consumers at the point of sale. The regulations also stipulate how ingredients are to be listed, including that they be in descending order of quantity".

EnviroCare cosmetics are marketed through promotional material and a website to be free of harmful chemicals and to have environmental benefits, including being biodegradable. They are sold by local distributors and through health stores in all States, except Tasmania.

An ACCC investigation showed that some of the EnviroCare cosmetics contained ingredients not listed on the labelling, such as foaming agents, preservatives and emulsifiers. 

"Manufacturers have an obligation to correctly label cosmetics. Further, when a consumer chooses to buy cosmetics promoted, such as in this case, as containing 'no harmful chemicals' or having a 'reduced impact on the environment', manufacturers have an increased responsibility to ensure consumers are not misled".

The ACCC has no evidence that any consumer has actually suffered any detriment or injury. However, in response to ACCC concerns, Environmental Marketing Pty Ltd has instructed all distributors and retailers to remove existing stock from sale and return it to the company. 

Environmental Marketing Pty Ltd has also entered into a court enforceable undertaking with the ACCC in which it has agreed to:

  • ensure all future supplies of its cosmetic products are correctly labelled and comply with the Regulations
  • implement a trade practices compliance program
  • provide a notice for display at each retailer point of sale which offers consumers a replacement or refund on the EnviroCare cosmetic products which were incorrectly labelled
  • take all reasonable steps to ensure that the notice remains on display for at least four weeks
  • reimburse retailers and distributors who return product in accordance with the notice.