Friday, July 25, 2008

Wrong Policy, Wrong Law, Wrong Time

Congress is currently considering the Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act of 2008. Now, we are all in favor of keeping our food, cosmetics, prescription drugs, etc. Safe. And we know what a wonderful job the FDA has done in the past. (Yes, I'm being sarcastic, probably from watching food item after food item being recalled, or warned against.)

Next to be controlled and safeguarded for our protection is the cosmetics industry. The legislation is aimed at giving the FDA authority to promulgate new regulations that are supposed to protect consumers and also provide the funding the agency needs to enforce existing laws in a global market. You can read the full text of the draft legislation here: http://energycommerce.house.gov/FDAGlobalAct-08/Dingel_60AXML.pdf.

The proposed legislation would, among other things:

1. Require all cosmetics companies serving American consumers to register annually with the FDA, and pay a registration fee of $2,000 per facility per year, and to list in its registration the cosmetics it manufactures, processes, packs or holds, and also, for manufacturers, to list all ingredients in each product contained in the registration listing.

2. Require all cosmetics companies to report to the FDA "serious adverse events" resulting from the use of the products.

3. Require all cosmetics companies to comply with the FDA's Good Manufacturing Practices.

4. Require all companies that import cosmetics to register annually with the FDA, and pay another registration fee ($10,000) to do so.

5. Give the FDA authority to levy substantial fines for violations of the new requirements.

How does this affect us, and how does it affect you?

Because it is illegal to make any therapeutic claims for our products, the essential oils and other natural products that we import are "For use in cosmetics and perfume." The blends that we manufacture and make available are for cosmetic use. Thus we fall under the "umbrella" of a cosmetics company.

Now, after 15 years in business, Nature's Gift can afford an annual $2000 registration fee. But...if we have to list every product once a year, what does that do for new products? New oils, new blends, new ideas. Sorry, wait until next year.

We are importers more than we are manufacturers. The $10,000 import fee will add to the already increasing costs we pay to bring in the products we make available.

More than that...many of our clients are where I was 15 - 18 years ago. A passion for creating soaps, or perfumes, or healing salves or whatever... Giving them to friends, and being asked to make more to sell. Just starting out in a business. Anyone who creates any of these sort of products for resale will be covered by this proposed bill. I know that for our first few years in business, I could not have paid to register Nature's Gift.

Even if you are not in business ... if you are ordering for your own personal use or for family and friends you will still be affected if this act closes. Do you purchase from small independent businesses? Do you enjoy the benefits of handmade toiletries, soaps or cosmetics? This proposed act will put many of your favorite small businesses out of business, taking away your freedom of choice, your freedom to decide where to purchase.

If you want to get involved in trying to stop this proposed legislation, which I believe is the wrong policy, the wrong law, at the wrong time there are at least two actions you can take.

1. You may call or write your congressman and/or senators and voice your concerns about and opposition to the Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act of 2008.

2 You may watch the video DonnaMaria Coles Johnson, founder and president of the Handmade Beauty Network has prepared to explain some of the problems with the bill, and find suggestions of action you can take.

3. You may sign the petition hosted by the Independent Business Blog. Please go to the end of the list of comments (the bottom of the page) to add your comment. Please add your city and state so that your comment will be counted and taken seriously.

Thanks for your time and attention. We love what we do at Nature's Gift, and would like to continue to be allowed to do it.

1 comment:

Christi said...

A few more suggestions for action now: 1) This fall would be a great time to make inroads/introductions to your Reps. Once Congress is in recess, they will be holding district office appointments with the Congressman/Senator in person. I would get in touch with them now to find out when & try to set up an appointment with them in their district office to introduce yourself & your position on the legislation. You can call the district office & ask for the district scheduler. OR call DC & ask them for the needed info & they may put you through to the District Office person that handles office appointments. Office appointments in the District are about 15 minutes each, so go in prepared to cover your main points.

2) This fall is also a great time to call & introduce yourself to the Senators and Representatives particular Legislative Director and/or Legislative Assistant (assigned to Commerce, under which this legislation falls). The DC offices are much slower paced when Congress is out of session & this could be a great time to call & chat with the appropriate LA about the legislation & what they see coming up. LA's are much more likely to have the time to chat from the time Congress recesses till it reconvenes in January. They are on eastern time & normally work 9 or 10 a.m..-6 p.m. For a list of Members of Congress visit www.house.gov.