PRESS RELEASE: GAIA response to ACCC infringement notices
GAIA Skin Naturals received notification from the ACCC regarding a complaint that representations on the labelling on three of our products may be false, possibly confusing or misleading.
Since then we have worked collaboratively with the ACCC to understand their view. Whilst we do not believe that we have misled consumers; we have taken on board their feedback and will be making changes to our labelling to address their concerns.
Our consumers are of paramount importance to us and in order to be even more transparent we will be updating our labelling to further clarify the ingredients in our products.
We believe that the issue of the infringement notices by the ACCC is ahead of the law. Further, the decision to issue the three infringement notices was a negotiated outcome that was made together with us. Our decision to accept and pay the three infringement notices was done in the interest of resolving the matter in a commercial and collaborative manner. Importantly GAIA’s payment of the infringement notices is not an acknowledgment by us of any wrongdoing. We firmly believe that we have complied with the current Australian Consumer Law as well as Australian cosmetic standards and guidelines.
GAIA takes great pride in being able to produce quality skincare for the whole family. We are able to substantiate and validate (with organic certificates) each of the organic ingredients contained within the three products in question. In addition all organic ingredients contained in the products are noted with an asterix on the packaging.
We do not nor have we claimed that the product is fully organic. Nor do we or have we marketed our products in this fashion. We disagree with the ACCC comments that the word “organic” means that the product doesn’t contain preservatives or chemicals when it comes to the cosmetic skincare industry. In fact, organic products in the market may contain synthetic chemicals and there is not currently a standard for the inclusion of organic ingredients in Australia. Nor is there an approved list for organic cosmetic manufacturers when it comes to preservatives and all water based products must contain a preservative.
We agree that it is imperative that cosmetics and skin care products must be adequately preserved and safe for the consumer to use. We also agree with the ACCC comments that the “infringement notice issued to GAIA over the baby products didn’t mean the products are not safe to use”.
Nowhere in our marketing have we ever represented that our products are free from synthetic chemicals. We have and continue to represent to the consumer that our products contain natural and organic ingredients. To us this means it is even more important that the products are adequately preserved to protect against the growth of bacteria, mould, yeast and fungi which can make a product go “off”.
The products contain the preservatives sodium hydroxymethyl glycinate and phenoxyethanol, which are considered safe and commonly used in cosmetics and skin care products. This has been listed on the packaging and safely used in our products for over 15 years.
The data provided to us by our supplier on sodium hydroxymethyl glycinate shows that is has been tested and found to be non-irritating, non-sensitising, non-toxic, non-mutagenic and non-teratogenic, resulting in the safe usage in our products over many years.
We have carefully assessed the toxicity and safety of phenoxyethanol and sodium hydroxymethyl glycinate and are confident with its usage in adults, children and babies. We believe that we are using the best and safest preserving systems available in our products.
We stand by our claims that our products are free from harsh soaps, sulphates, petrochemicals, mineral oil, artificial fragrance, parabens, propylene glycol, phlates and lanolin and consumers should have confidence when using our products.