“‘Free from’ Misleads Consumers” (2009)
“Free from” …insert your scary story here…
Using terms such as “contains no…” or “free of…” misleads consumers into believing the ingredient safety is questionable, when scientific evidence may show the ingredient is safe. Chris Flower of the CTPA, a UK cosmetic trade association provides this example, “in the case of parabens, we feel that people are trading on the false allegations of safety concerns.”
Claiming a product is “paraben-free” suggests to consumers that paraben containing products are unsafe, when in fact parabens have a long history of safe use. Such marketing tactics are also designed to imply that the replacement ingredients are safer and better.
The CTPA says, “We strongly suggest that safety shouldn’t be used as a route to commercial benefits, as it suggests the other products are inherently unsafe. We are all required to provide safe products and this kind of practice undermines the industry as a whole.”
In the same article Cosmetics design-Europe.com reported that France’s regulatory body responsible for “competition and fraud control” concluded that drawing attention to the absence of certain preservatives in cosmetics can mislead the consumer.