Peanuts in Cosmetics

Clarins Paris uses PEANUT PRODUCTS in their “natural and botanically” based cosmetics.


Clarins Paris seems to feel that peanut allergies are not something that they need to overtly reference on their cosmetics packages or containers.  When in fact 5 of their cosmetic products have either hydrogenated peanut oil or arachis hypogaea (peanut) oil in them.

Clarins portrays themselves as a company who is concerned with beauty and health.  When in reality their own product labels discredit the claims made on the packaging that the products are allergy tested.

The United Stated federal government acknowledges that peanuts are one of the 8 major allergens and as of January 1, 2006, requires food labels to reference any of these allergens on the label.

What is the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004?

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA) (Public Law 108-282) was enacted in August 2004, and addresses, among other issues, the labeling of foods that contain certain food allergens.

What is a “major food allergen?

Under FALCPA, a “major food allergen” is an ingredient that is one of the following five foods or from one of the following three food groups or is an ingredient that contains protein derived from one of the following:

  • milk
  • egg
  • fish
  • Crustacean shellfish
  • tree nuts
  • wheat
  • peanuts
  • soybeans

Does FALCPA provide any specific direction for declaring the presence of ingredients from the three food groups that are designated as “major food allergens (i.e., tree nuts, fish, and Crustacean shellfish?”)

Yes. FALCPA requires that in the case of tree nuts, the specific type of nut must be declared (e.g., almonds, pecans, or walnuts). The species must be declared for fish (e.g., bass, flounder, or cod) and Crustacean shellfish (crab, lobster, or shrimp).

Are there food allergens other than those directly addressed by FALCPA?

Congress designated eight foods or food groups as “major food allergens.” These foods or food groups account for 90 percent of all food allergies. Although there are other foods to which sensitive individuals may react, the labels of packaged foods containing these other allergens are not required to be in compliance with FALCPA.

May a “Contains” statement on a food label provided in accordance with FALCPA list only the names of the food sources of the major food allergens that are not already identified in the ingredient list for a packaged food?

No. If a “Contains” statement is used on a food label, the statement must include the names of the food sources of all major food allergens used as ingredients in the packaged food. For example, if “sodium caseinate,” “whey,” “egg yolks,” and “natural peanut flavor” are declared in a product’s ingredients list, any “Contains” statement appearing on the label immediately after or adjacent to that statement is required to identify all three sources of the major food allergens present (e.g., “Contains milk, egg, peanuts”) in the same type (i.e., print or font) size as that used for the ingredient list.

Is there more than one way to word a “Contains” statement used to declare the major food allergens in a packaged food?

Yes. The wording for a “Contains” statement may be limited to just stating the word “Contains” followed by the names of the food sources of all major food allergens that either are or are contained in ingredients used to make the packaged product. Alternatively, additional wording may be used for a “Contains” statement to more accurately describe the presence of any major food allergens, provided that the following three conditions are met:

  1. The word “Contains” with a capital “C” must be the first word used to begin a “Contains” statement. (The use of bolded text and punctuation within a “Contains” statement is optional.)
  2. The names of the food sources of the major food allergens declared on the food label must be the same as those specified in the FALCPA, except that the names of food sources may be expressed using singular terms versus plural terms (e.g., walnut versus walnuts) and the synonyms “soy” and “soya” may be substituted for the food source name “soybeans.”
  3. If included on a food label, the “Contains” statement must identify the names of the food sources for all major food allergens that either are in the food or are contained in ingredients of the food.

Some manufacturers have elected to reference that their product even though there are no peanuts or nuts in the finished product, but, that the product is produced in a facility that does process these allergens.

The irony is that cosmetics fall under Food and Nutrition classification according to the Food and Drug Administration.  Since they have such stringent requirements for food, why isn’t this warning labeling required for allergen containing cosmetic products?

Clarins Paris aside from refusing to disclose peanut ingredients prominently on their containers or packaging, also, refuses to comply with federal labeling laws regarding their fragrances, for example Angel.

Any way you look at this company, their sole driven goal is profit and the consumers health is seriously at risk from the omission of relevant facts adequately displayed for the consumer to see prior to purchase.

Seeing the amount of the population who are negatively affected by peanuts or other allergens, stores that sell cosmetics need to inform the public prior to selling and or demonstrating them.

The NTEF is going to be looking into the legal ramifications of non-disclosure during testing or demonstrations of these products in retail sales establishments.

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