Planning for the Future: Personal Care Contract Manufacturing Certifications and Why They Matter
Selecting a personal care contract manufacturer for your brand is less about finding a business to create and fill your formula, it’s about something even more valuable: your reputation. Ensuring contract manufacturers can reliably produce your products within an overarching industry accepted quality standard will not only guarantee a positive experience with your brand but also the health and safety of your customers.
Tom Lehman, VP of Sales with PLZ walks us through some of the more common certifications (and their acronyms) used in the personal care manufacturing industry, and why you should take notice.
cGMP: current Good Manufacturing Processes
cGMP is a common acronym within the personal care contract manufacturing industry. It stands for “current Good Manufacturing Processes” and they are general guidelines and minimum requirements a manufacturer must meet to assure that their products are consistently high in quality, from batch to batch, for their intended use. The cGMP ensures the end product is free from contamination, is consistent in its manufacture, has been well documented, personnel are well trained, and that the product has been checked for quality more than just at the end phase. A collection of global entities – from the FDA to Health Canada, the EU, and many others – all contribute towards “what” constitutes current Good Manufacturing Practices.
Why does it matter?
“The main purpose of cGMP is to prevent harm from occurring to your customers. But it is important to remember it is a “Scout’s Honor” pledge in the cosmetics/personal care sector. cGMP are simply suggestions and no contract manufacturer is required to follow or abide by these guidelines.”
ISO: International Organization for Standardization
International Organization for Standardization informs thousands of industry sectors around the world regarding global standards for manufacturing processes, safety requirements, quality assurance, and more. The ISO provides the highest level of guidance and specifications for the production, control, storage and shipment of products by a contract manufacturer. Independent auditing bodies perform the certification process, as a company or organization cannot be certified by ISO. Ultimately, pursing an ISO/cGMP certification leads to better overall safety and productivity on the manufacturing floor, and the ISO 22716 cGMP gives specific guidance to cosmetics with a series of paperwork, documentation, records, and policies that are all based on best practices.
Why does it matter?
“ISO accreditation is the worldwide benchmark for manufacturing processes. By achieving the latest certification a manufacturer is demonstrating it has the ability to deliver high-quality products that meet all industry regulations, and has a vested interest in the support and training of its own team. Mansfield-King, a member of the PLZ Aeroscience Personal Care portfolio, is a certified cGMP ISO 22716, to give customers confidence in approach to customer service, safety, fulfillment speed, and believe MK to deliver a high-quality cosmetic.”
FDA: Food & Drug Administration
FDA regulates cosmetics under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) with base guidelines for products, color additives, labeling claims and more, but there are limited certifications for personal care contract manufacturers, specifically from the FDA.
VCRP: Cosmetic firms and manufacturers are strongly encouraged to participate in FDA’s Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program (VCRP). Cosmetic manufacturers, distributors, and packers can file information on their products that are currently being marketed to consumers in the United States and register their manufacturing and/or packaging facility locations in the VCRP database. Participation in the VCRP program DOES NOT indicate FDA approval as cosmetic or personal care products that don’t make “structure or function claims” are not required to be pre-approved by the FDA.
Drug Establishment Registration: Contract manufacturers that make OTC items – antiperspirants, toothpaste with fluoride, dandruff shampoos, sunscreen, etc – these must comply with the FDA guidelines for both cosmetics and drugs and they should have a current FDA Drug Establishment Registration. This is a specific process that ensures they have document control, testing, ingredient identification and validation process to confirm the potency of the drug products.
Why does it matter?
“You first need to be clear on the type of products you are looking to create and then ensure your contract manufacturing partner has the same FDA credentials to match those needs. For the purposes of basic personal care products your contract manufacturer should be a member of the VCRP and if you are looking for an OTC product, have the correct drug establishment registration and able to manage the FDA premarket approval process.”
While having outside, objective certifications can help you understand whether a contract manufacturers business is run effectively, none of these certifications, in isolation, guarantees anything. They are simple signpost that the CM is buttoned up, best-in-class and committed to investing in their own organization. Selecting the right personal care contract manufacturer is more akin to choosing a partner for your entire organization. It will impact ALL aspects of your business – from the buyer who wants quality and low frustration, to the QC manager who wants a safe and consistently performing product, to the brand/marketing leader who wants a reliable partner that can deliver customer-centric products.
If you’d like to learn more about each of these certifications, visit these sites:
Mansfield-King provides exceptional formula development, product launches/extensions for mid-size and larger national brands, and is part of PLZ Aeroscience Corporation – Personal Care offering a breadth of beauty and personal care contract manufacturing services from aerosols to private label. Learn more here: mansfieldking.com, plzaeroscience.com and liquidtek.com