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BDIH comments on ISO guideline 16128

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

ISO 16128 is a project which is currently being processed by ISO (International Organization for Standardization), with the objective, described in the introduction of the drafts, to promote a greater choice of natural and organic components for the production of a wide range of cosmetic products (we reported). The German association BDIH is involved in the work of ISO 16128 Guideline from the beginning, on behalf of the association, Dr. Roland Grandel is a member and the current head of the relevant working group of DIN, the German ISO member. The DIN has not yet approved the draft guideline and comments on the contents critical, informs the BDIH.

As is apparent from a detailed note by BDIH that "ISO 16128 is not an initiative of the EU and its institutions, nor are they involved in the consultations. The drafts are discussed worldwide exclusively by the members of the ISO with voting rights, which are the national standardization institutions (in Germany: DIN). However, the content of the drafts can be commented by interested parties with guest status without the right to vote. In the case of their adoption, the guidelines do have neither legal force nor another binding effect for national or supranational legislation or jurisdiction. Also, the guidelines are not a „harmonized standard“ that, when followed implicates the compliance with European law, as this is only the case for European Standards (EN) that were adopted by the Commission as result of a standardization mandate issued by the latter. These conditions are not met."

"On the one hand, the draft guidelines ISO 16128 include definitions of the terms „natural ingredients“, „derived natural ingredients“, „derived mineral ingredients “ and „non-natural ingredients“, as well as „organic ingredients“ and „derived organic ingredients “, combined with a purely informative and also non-exhaustive list of chemical and biological processes in connection with these categories (ISO 16128-1). On the other hand, ISO 16128-2 contains rules for the calculation of the natural and organic content in ingredients and products. Since national standardisation institutes of all continents are involved in the development of ISO 16128, whereby no unanimity is required, but decisions are made by majorities, the definitions and criteria therein cannot be equated to the relevant public perception in individual countries", informs BDIH.

"For example, the approach described in ISO 16128-1, according to which an ingredient is only assumed „non-natural “if its fossil fuel origin is greater than or equal to 50 % by molecular weight, is not compatible with the public perception in Germany. This essentially also applies to the category „ingredients of natural origin“ defined in ISO 16128-1, which applies in the case of a molecular weight greater than 50 % of substances of natural origin and as for the rest allows petrochemical components. It is against the German public perception to declare an ingredient that may consist of petrochemical moieties of nearly 50 % to be an ingredient „derived from nature“. This also applies to Austria where the public perception concerning natural cosmetics is described in the chapter B 33 of the Austrian food codex."

Thus, in BDIH’s view, the risk of deception is given if the definitions of the ISO Guideline 16128 would be used in the advertising of cosmetic products without further clarification. It presumably would also be misleading to refer to „natural cosmetics according to ISO 16128“, because the Guideline ISO 16128 does not contain provisions specifying under which conditions a product is natural or organic cosmetics, as explained above.

From this, it also results that ISO 16128 cannot be a basis for a „certification“ or „notification“. BDIH thus considers the standard for natural cosmetics it has developed in cooperation with leading manufacturers of natural cosmetics as well as the harmonized COSMOS-standard developed in cooperation with other European organizations to be further essential in order to provide the consumer with a reliable distinctive mark for natural and organic cosmetics. With these standards, important criteria according to the public perception are specified that are explicitly not addressed by ISO 16128. For example, in the Guideline ISO 16128 there is no equivalent for the public perception according to which no ingredients of dead vertebrates are to be used in natural cosmetics. ISO 16128 equally does not take into account further important aspects of animal welfare (housing conditions during the production of animal products, like milk and eggs, prohibition of animal tests regardless of place and purpose).

The standards for natural cosmetics supported by BDIH furthermore include, taking into account the public perception, prohibitions of substances which contain genetically modified organisms, of irradiation, of nanomaterials, as well as regulations on environmentally friendly packaging. With this, the significance of these standards is not affected, even in the event of final adoption of the Guideline 16128 by the ISO, and there is also no reason to reduce the existing high requirements of these standards with a view to ISO 16128.

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