Traces of preservatives found in French bio-cosmetics

Two thirds of cosmetic products designated as "bio" products and described as being free from preservatives contained traces of preservatives, according to an investigation carried out jointly by the French health products safety agency (Afssaps) and the directorate responsible for competition, consumption and fraud (DGCCRF). The report says, however, that it was impossible to conclude there had been a deliberate intent to deceive as the traces of preservative were between 20 and 60 times below the legal limits.

Two thirds of cosmetic products designated as "bio" products and described as being free from preservatives contained traces of preservatives, according to an investigation carried out jointly by the French health products safety agency (Afssaps) and the directorate responsible for competition, consumption and fraud (DGCCRF). The report says, however, that it was impossible to conclude there had been a deliberate intent to deceive as the traces of preservative were between 20 and 60 times below the legal limits.

The investigation focused on 28 bio-cosmetics of which 22 carried Ecocert, Visagro", ICEA-AAIB or BDIH labels and six described themselves as a "natural/bio product". A total of 12 claimed they were free of preservatives and 16 that they were free of phenoxyethanol. The report notes that producers could also use a benzoic acid or sorbic acid salt or related agents as preservatives. Some 19 products contained traces of preservatives despite labelling claims to the contrary. One of the agencies – Afssaps – says that these traces could result from their use in raw materials, especially raw materials of vegetable origin.

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