Number of cosmetic product recalls spikes 63% in 2016

Chemical and microbiology issues were found to be the most common reasons for pulling a product from the market

Product recalls in the global cosmetics, personal care and household industry are on the rise, according to a report by quality control company SGS.

Using the European Commission’s rapid alert system for product notification (RAPEX), SGS released its 2016 RAPEX Recalls report presenting the number of recalls by country and product category.

In the report it was revealed that there were 124 recalls in 2016, compared with 76 in 2015 – an increase of 63%.

Reasons for recall

The majority of recalls were caused by chemical and microbiology issues, which accounted for 117 of the 124 instances last year.

The next most common issues were health risks, choking and burns.

Other recurring reasons for recalls include labelling issues, such as not listing certain allergens or breach of labelling regulations; and confusing packaging, for example, when a product such as a bath soap is mistaken for food.

Recalls listed in the last year include Autour du Bain’s Mini-Cupcake Orange-Canelle bathroom products, which due to their form, colour and size might be mistaken for food.

Meanwhile, three of MAX & MORE make-up’s primers were recalled after they were found to contain isobutylparaben, which is thought to be a potential endocrine disrupter, and did not comply with the Cosmetic Products Regulation.

Skin care dominates

The five top product categories for recalls in 2016 were: Bath/body wash, skin cleansing (18); Incense sticks and other scents (13); skin-lightening products and creams (13); tattoo inks (10); and hair dyes/colourings (9).

Certain ingredients were highlighted in the report as being ‘frequently implicated substances’. These include: preservatives such as parabens, MI/MIT and MCI/CMIT, phthalates, heavy metals, formaldehyde, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and hydroquinone.