BSE causes a drop in collagen sales

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, Cosmetics

Following the recent BSE scare in America, the Bureau of Health in
Taiwan has banned a list of cosmetics thought to contain prohibited
US cattle and sheep-sourced ingredients. It is believed the embargo
of American imports will encourage more companies to use animal
tissue alternatives. This could cost the cosmetic industry
millions.

Taipei ruled last week that products such as Dove shampoo should be taken off store shelves within two months. Failure to comply with the new legislation could cost retailers a hefty €2,500 fine.

"We have asked all cosmetics companies to voluntarily report the ingredients and source of their products by 15 January and will keep updating the list for consumer reference,"​ said Chiang Yu-mei, a division chief at the bureau.

Among the 37 cosmetic products already identified are Dove bath milk and shampoo, Kanebo cosmetics, L'Oreal's collagen-rich cream and Taisalt's collagen dough.

However Taisalt has refused to withdraw its products, claiming its cosmetics are safe from mad cow disease.

"The collagen from the US used for our products was extracted from cattle skin, which complies with international security standards and was not included in the listing of banned bovine or ovine tissues announced by the government,"​ said Taisalt executive manager Henry Lau.

International companies are not expected to be affected by the ban following the outbreak of BSE in Europe in the early 1990s. Companies such as Shiseido have already replaced collagen or placenta with materials extracted from plants or made via biochemical technology.

"We estimate that the mad cow disease incident in Washington will have a greater impact on the companies that have never traded within Europe or dealt with European cosmetic legislation,"​ said Estee Lauder's brand manager Linda Leu.

Due to consumers' concerns Watsons department stores in Taiwan have announced a 10 to 15 percent drop in sales of collagen-rich cosmetics and health foods since the ban.

In case mad cow disease further damages sales, the 235-outlet Watsons has asked its suppliers of cosmetics and health food to provide place-of-origin or quarantine certificates on their products in an attempt to pacify customers.

"We will have to stop selling the products of suppliers failing to do so until they offer such certification,"​ said PR specialist for Watsons Elvy Chou.

Related topics: Formulation & Science

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