Microbiological quality of personal care products

Eurofins explores the various methodologies that cosmetics manufacturers can employ to evaluate their products for the presence of microbial contamination, and for the efficacy of their products’ preservatives

Cosmetics and personal care products rely on preservative systems to prevent the overgrowth of microorganisms introduced during manufacturing and use, and ultimately protect an end-user. These diverse product categories are not required to be sterile upon release, and it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to identify permissible limits for release and to confirm the effectiveness of preservative systems.

The Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) states that every personal care product manufacturer "has a dual responsibility relative to the microbiological quality of its products. The first is to ensure that the product, as purchased, is free from the numbers and types of microorganisms that could affect product quality and consumer health.

"The second is to ensure that microorganisms introduced during normal product use will not adversely affect the quality or safety of the product".1 This is the principle and impetus behind establishing a microbiological quality regimen — it is a mission statement for manufacturers, production managers, and quality control personnel.

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