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Quest for the Perfect Pickle and GMP

2014-08-19-picklesThis last week has been shaped by the bounty from our garden. When the tomatoes, peas, beans, zucchini and cucumbers are ripe, they get picked NOW … it’s not something that can be put off for a day or two.

Of course, having the picked vegetables means that you have to do something with them before they go bad – so I’ve been prepping and canning lots of pickles and making zucchini bread for the freezer.

Pickles – well, this MANY pickles, anyway – are new. I decided to try several different recipes and then keep track of which ones are good, better, best (or really bad). Casting about for a way to keep track of it, I realized that it’s just one piece of good manufacturing practices .. and I already know how to do that!

Calculating Percentages for Blended Ingredients

calculatorIngredients are supposed to be listed in the ingredient declaration in “descending order of predominance”. In other words, the ingredient at the highest percentage (by weight) goes first, then then next highest, etc. Ingredients that are present at less than 1% can be listed in any order following the ingredients present at 1% or greater.

When a blended ingredient is used, all the component ingredients in it must be listed separately in the ingredient declaration, correctly placed in the descending order of predominance based on the component ingredient’s percentage of the entire formula.

So, how do you figure that out? Actually, it’s simple math, and not too hard when you know the formulas. Here’s an example:

Monday Mailbag – August 4, 2014

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In this Monday Mailbag we have questions concerning the size of the net weight wording, getting started with GMP, handling incidental ingredients, INCI names and website software.

What are the size requirements for the net weight?

The size of the text for the net weight is dependent upon the size of the principal display panel. If the PDP is less than 5 square inches, height of the net contents must be at least 1/16”. If the PDP is 5 – 25 square inches, the net contents must be at least 1/8” high.

For most cosmetics and soaps, the PDP will be between 5 and 25 so the text of the net contents should be 1/8” high. If the text is in lower case or upper and lower case (i.e. “fl. Oz.” or “Fl. Oz.”), the height is measured by the height of a lowercase “o”. If the text is in only uppercase, it is measured by the height of the uppercase “L”. net-contents-spacing In addition, the text should be separated above and below by the space of an upper case “N” and on the sides by the width of three upper case “N’s”, as you can see in the image above.

Labeling Regulations – Don’t Know vs. Don’t Care

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I’ve been discussing, writing, and lecturing on the subject of soap and cosmetic labeling for nearly 10 years now. During that time I’ve discovered that people who are making handcrafted soap and cosmetics seem fall into categories when it comes to knowing and following the regulations.

As with all things, how a person deals with knowing or not knowing a subject, can say a lot about him or her.

Monday Mailbag – Smoothies, Trade Secrets, Essential Oils and Links to Regulations

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More interesting questions from readers this week. Smoothies in soap, trade secrets, essential oils, links to regulations and more. Please feel free to email me your questions to hello@mariegale.com!

If you make soap and use a smoothie (i.e. Green Machine or Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness) as water replacement, how would you label it? These products sometimes have about twenty items in them.

The answer depends on what you are doing with the soap and how you are marketing. If you aren’t SELLING the soap, then you don’t have to do anything. If you ARE selling, there are a couple of possibilities.

Getting UPC Codes on Your Labels

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One of the things that you often see on soap and cosmetic labels are bar codes. They are not required by regulation, but can make a big difference in where and how your products can be sold.

Many of the large stores or chains use UPCs on all their products – both at the point of sale when the customer actually buys the product, but also for inventory, stocking, purchasing and more. If you are looking to get into the wholesale market – especially if you want to wholesale to large stores or chains – bar codes may be an important part of of your package label.

Monday Mailbag – Natural, Pesticides, Using Wine or Beer in Cosmetics, the “e” symbol

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One of the things I love about the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry is how so many people are willing to share and help others. I’m a member of a number of Facebook groups covering different aspects of soap and cosmetics and I am always inspired by the amount of care that the members have for have for each other. Whether it’s advice about how to accomplish something, suggested resources or just a pat on the back for a job well done, these are generally friends you can count on.

In brief, the questions for this week are:

  1. Licensing needed for bath and body products containing wine or beer?
  2. “100% natural” with fragrance oils?
  3. Essential oils as inert ingredients in bug repellent?
  4. What does that “e” symbol mean?

Packaging & Labeling – More than just the requirements

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When we talk about soap and cosmetic labeling, very often the discussion is about the regulations and the requirements. It’s true that the package label must contain very specific elements, but what about the rest of the label content? What about the “labeling,” defined as the materials and text that goes with the product (like promotional materials and website content)?

On your actual product labels and in your accompanying materials, you have many, many opportunities to present your product and your business to your customers and the world. Just because you can’t say that your soap cures eczema or reduces acne, doesn’t mean you can’t say plenty of other good things about the product and the company.

Monday Mailbag – Patents, Sunscreen, Certification, Private Label and Hydrogenated OIls

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This is the first of my new blog post series, Monday Mailbag, in which I’ll answer soap or cosmetic labeling or GMP related questions that have been sent to me. We’re starting out with an eclectic mix this week – from patenting soap to how to list hydrogenated oils in the ingredient declaration.

If you have a question that you would like answered, please email it to me at hello AT mariegale.com. I hope to be able to answer 5 – 10 questions each week