What is a cosmetic company required to do in the event of a recall?



Normally, the FDA can make a company issue a recall if they consider their product to be in violation of the law it administers and possibly initiate legal action. However, the FDA has no authority to order a recall of a cosmetic (though it can request a company recalls the product). 

If it is determined that a cosmetic company needs to recall a product, they are expected to take certain steps to ensure the safety of their customers. 

  • Customers should be notified. The FDA says that content, format, and extent of notification should be commensurate with the hazard presented by the product and the recall strategy developed for the product. 
  • If a recall is initiated, the company should notify the appropriate FDA district office.
  • The FDA district office will want to assess the progress of the recall, so the company should periodically send updates to them. 
  • A public warning may be necessary if the FDA or the cosmetic company decides so. 
  • The company is responsible for either bringing the product into compliance, or destroying it. 

Smart companies will actually develop recall plans ahead of time so that in the event they need to recall a product, there are already processes in place to follow. One thing the FDA recommends doing is assigning product or batch numbers, even though they aren't required for cosmetics. Lot numbering will let a company determine whether some or all lots of a product need to be recalled. If the products don't have lot number, the company might have to recall the entire product on the market since it will be virtually impossible to identify the specific production runs involved. 

Defective products like bad cosmetics can injure people or make them sick. If a defective cosmetic caused you any harm, contact Austin attorney Earl Straight for a free consultation at 512-454-1331.