This is the topic of GMP.
GMP stands for Good Manufacturing Practices.
Sounds boring, I know, but bear with me.
GMP does NOT mean-"well my place looks clean, and I wash my equipment in between making products, or I wash my hands before I start whipping up my product awesomeness!"
GMP is an actual set of manufacturing standards set forth by the FDA to ensure safety for the consumer as well as the manufacturer. These practices are what allow for recalls if products are found to have been tainted, but also to ensure that most never need to be recalled!
The FDA has very strict guidelines, some would say not strict enough, but I find the fault lies, not in the regulations, as much as the fact that the industry of cosmetics manufacturing as a whole, is a self regulated industry.
To the lay person what this means is: cosmetics manufacturers within the United States are SOLELY responsible for employing Good Manufacturing Practices.
Things like; Using FDA approved ingredients FOR THEIR APPROVED PURPOSE ONLY, have their own inspection process, Batch testing including a reserved sample of each batch AND written notes for every batch, understand and employ proper labeling, and these are just the tip of the iceberg. The FDA rarely gets involved in the manufacturing process unless there are complaints.
To me, this is both good and bad.
Good in that, the current self regulating process does allow for small, Indie brand manufacturers.
In recent years, talk of the more involved FDA process has been discussed- the results, as proposed, create such fees as to drive most Indies out of business altogether.
The bad, is then the result of NO true surety of GMP by any cosmetics facility.
Bet you didn't know that one, did you?
This all boils down to: It is MY JOB to know and follow all the FDA regulations, AND to have in place GMP.
The good news, they are easy to find. See them HERE: FDA Good Manufacturing Practices
When I taught my manufacturing classes years ago- I actually handed my students the FDA regulations as part of the instruction kit, and where to access the rest of the information as well.
I will also tell you, the FDA are excellent at answering any questions you may have over the phone, and I have called a rep myself, and had my questions promptly answered. THEY WANT to help, they WANT you to be safe.
And Manufacturers they WANT to protect you as well, both physically as well as financially.
I just recently heard of an Indie Soaper- who had neglected to wear goggles during the making of soap. She had Lye splash into her eye, and damaged the eye. It took ten years, but she was finally able to have surgery to repair the damage. For any that don't know Lye is very caustic, and safety measures are a must including the absolute use of safety goggles at all times!
I myself wear a mask, and have a fine dust particle filtration system built into my manufacturing
The mask also has the added benefit of not allowing my breath, or any germs if, say I am coming down with a cold, but unaware, these will not be breathed over my products.
To protect the end consumer.
I also diligently wear gloves EACH AND EVERY time I manufacture or package products. This is non-negotiable, as hands can quickly and easily spread germs throughout products. To ensure no problems arise from the use of gloves, I use non-latex, non-powdered, vinyl gloves.