Whether you are making products for personal use or for family and friends or whether you are starting on a journey to sell your products, it is a good idea to follow good sanitary practice. There are strict guidelines in the industry for following Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) that is very involved.  As home crafter’s you won’t need to be so strict but there are some basic good practices that you need to follow to ensure your product is safe and of good quality. It is not expected that you have to work in sterile conditions, but it is expected that you work in sanitary conditions.  Below is a little guide to help you.

STORING RAW MATERIALS

  1. Store your raw materials in air tight containers or follow suppliers advice.
  2. Store your container off of the floor.
  3.  Keep your vegetable oils, essential oils, butters and other liquid materials in the fridge or a cool dark cupboard.
  4. With powders use silica gel bags to keep the powder fresh and free of moisture.
  5.  Refer to the MSDS  (material safety data sheet) to know how to store and handle your raw materials.

CLEANING

1.Clean all of you utensils with soapy water and rinse well.
2. Spray all of your utensils and pots with alcohol solution (70% isopropyl alcohol) and dry with a with a clean paper towel or leave to air dry before you start to make your product.
3. Clean all of your surfaces down and spray with alcohol solution
4. If you use a dishwasher, do not wash your cosmetics making equipment with your food making equipment.
5. Choose a stick blender with a detachable head,  you will probably be able to put the blade in the dishwasher.
6. Wash your hands and use a hand sanitiser. Use surgical gloves if you have some.
7. When cleaning you stick blender, soak it in a steriliser like Milton (baby bottle steriliser) and then give it a whiz so as to clean the blade and stick thoroughly.
8. Don’t use utensils that have lots of grooves as this is a hub for microbial growth – don’t use spatula with a detachable silicone head for the same reason.
9. Use a hair net and lab coat to protect the product from you and you from the product!
10. Do not eat, smoke or drink in the area that you are making your products.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

  1. Always wear protective clothing – wear an appropriate mask when dealing with powders, wear goggles when appropriate and a protective coat or apron.
  2. Make sure you read the MSDS to find out how to handle, store, dispose of and deal with any accidents/spillages.

GMP FOR SELLERS/MANUFACTURERS

Follow FDA recommendations for GMP OR THE EU DIRECTIVE (WHO REFERS TO THE ISO 2216: 2007* FOR GUIDANCE)

*THE ISO 22716:2007 (INTERNATIONAL STANDARD OF ORGANISATION GMP) WHICH IS THE INTERNATIONAL STANDARD FOLLOWED BY MANY COMPANIES AND ORGANISATIONS.

ECOCERT is an organic certification organization, founded in France in 1991. It is based in Europe but conducts inspections in over 80 countries, making it one of the largest organic certification organizations in the world. Their basic principle is ‘to ensure an environmentally friendly cosmetic product’.  The Ecocert standards asserts that ;

”1. The use of ingredients derived from renewable resources, manufactured by environmentally friendly processes. Ecocert therefore checks:

  • The absence of GMO, parabens, phenoxyethanol, nanoparticles, silicon, PEG, synthetic perfumes and dyes, animal-derived ingredients (unless naturally produced by them: milk, honey, etc.).
  • The biodegradable or recyclable nature of packaging.”

They have two standards; Ecocert Natural and Ecocert Organic.  Both standards state there has to be a minimum of 95% ingredients of ‘natural origin’.

2. A minimum threshold of natural ingredients from organic farming to be reached to obtain certification:

  • For both labels, Ecocert Standard imposes that a minimum of 95% of the total ingredients come from natural origin.
  • For the natural and organic cosmetic label:logo-organic-cosmetics

A minimum of 95% of all plant-based ingredients in the formula and a minimum of 10% of all ingredients by weight must come from organic farming.

  • For the natural cosmetic label: logo-natural-cosmetics

A minimum of 50% of all plant-based ingredients in the formula and a minimum of 5% of all ingredients by weight must come from organic farming. ”

Lastly they state that ingredients such as water, salts and minerals cannot be certified as organic because they do not come from farming.  This means that if you are formulating a cream with 70% water, the 30% of the remaining ingredients has to be either 95% or 50% certified organic to meet either their organic or natural standard.  Ingredients such as actives, emulsifiers, preservatives must also be ingredients ‘derived from renewable sources’.  To check whether your ingredients would meet the ecocert standard you can use this handy tool  http://ap.ecocert.com/glorganic/