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Pallone Requests Updated Information on FDA’s Inspections of Imported Cosmetic Products

Jun 26, 2019
Press Release
“As the demands of consumers grow and evolve, so must the efforts of Congress to protect them”

Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today requesting updated information on the agency’s inspections of imported cosmetic products.  Pallone’s request follows an alarming announcement from FDA that the agency has not conducted any foreign cosmetic inspections in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 and does not intend to conduct any inspections in FY 2020.

In 2016, Pallone sent a letter to FDA requesting similar information following the sharp rise of cosmetic products imported into the United States and FDA’s findings were concerning.  Of the 2.9 million cosmetic products imported in FY 2016, less than one percent were physically examined, and 15 percent of those examined were contaminated or contained illegal ingredients. 

“Given that FDA noted cosmetic imports have doubled over the last decade and that imports from China have gone up by 79 percent in the last five years, I find it troubling that FDA has not conducted any foreign cosmetic inspections in FY 2019 and intends to conduct no foreign cosmetic inspections in FY 2020,” Pallone wrote to FDA Acting Commissioner Sharpless.

Pallone continued, “As the demands of consumers grow and evolve, so must the efforts of Congress to protect them.  It is in this spirit that I ask that FDA update the Committee on the foreign inspections information I requested in my December 20, 2016 letter to reflect data for FY 2017-2019.” 

According to the FDA, the number of cosmetic imports increased by over 800,000 between fiscal years 2011 and 2016.  FDA physically examined 9,871 cosmetic imports in FY 2016 and reported that 1,474 of those imports had adverse findings.  FDA also sampled and tested 364 imports within FDA laboratories discovering that 73 imports, or 20 percent, were contaminated with illegal color additives and microbial contamination. 

In his letter, Pallone requested specific information from FDA on its foreign inspections data from FY 2017-2019, including:

  • The number and kinds of personal care products imported each year;
  • The number of imported products subjected to inspections each year; and,
  • The number of contaminated products intercepted each year.

Pallone also requested FDA provide the Committee with other materials that would help in the development of cosmetics legislation.  Earlier this year, Pallone released a bipartisan discussion draft to empower FDA to better regulate the safety of cosmetic and personal care products.

Pallone’s letter to FDA is available HERE.