Fragrance materials and IFRA certificate

March 21, 2017

IFRA stands for the International Fragrance Association. This is an industry body that represents the fragrance industry worldwide. Founded in Geneva in 1973, IFRA is now International with regional division (Europe / Asia & Pacific and Americas).

IFRA has developed and implemented a Code of Practice that provides recommendations for good operating practice and guidelines that ensure that fragrances are safe.

The standards may limit or ban the use of a certain fragrance, and the IFRA certificate allows the manufacturer of the fragrance-based product to be compliant.

IFRA’s mission can be summarized in 7 key points:

  1. “Establishment and maintenance of a consistent system of Standards for safe use of fragrances, based on broadly recognized scientific principles with the final objective of protecting the consumer and the environment;
  2. Maintenance of the high standards necessary to protect and enhance the credibility of the industry through self-policing;
  3. Development and maintenance of open communication and cooperation with national and international government bodies, concerned elements of the medical and scientific community and other stakeholders;
  4. Support of the independent safety assessment of ingredients used by the industry;
  5. Provision to the membership of timely and comprehensive information on matters of relevance to the industry, consistent with the main mission of IFRA;
  6. Promotion of the merits of fragrances in their general enhancement of quality of life;
  7. Advocacy of regulatory principles that protect the intellectual property of its members.”

What is an IFRA certificate?

The IFRA certificate is a document established by the fragrance manufacturer. The certificate ensures that the manufacturing process is compliant with the industry standard. It allows customers to comply with the different regulations around the world, particularly EU No. 1223/2009 Cosmetic Regulation where fragrance compounds are regulated.

Who needs to provide an IFRA certificate?

During the compliance process, the regulatory department or regulatory consultant will ask the brand/product manufacturer to provide an IFRA certificate in order to verify the concentration ranges of the formula according to the type of the product marketed.

A fragrance manufacturer is not compliant if the fragrance material:

  1. Contains or is an ingredient used in violation of a Standard
  2. Contains a fragrance ingredient that has not been evaluated

Fragrance ingredients have to comply with the requirements of relevant legislation and regulations in countries in which they are to be used.

IFRA Standards are meant to make a fragrance-based product safer for the consumer.

How to create an IFRA certificate?

The IFRA template can be downloaded on the IFRA website. As a fragrance manufacturer, you must create this certificate. The comprehensive documentation on IFRA’s website will help you to do so.

On their website, IFRA also provides a large database.

This database is a handy tool to verify the regulatory status of the fragrance component you intend to use.

You must also verify the QRA (Quantitative Risk Assessment) of the product. Currently, there are eleven categories, you'll find more detailed information here.

When you draft your IFRA certificate, you may refer the percentage to the product type that drives the category consumer Exposure Level. Please find the list below:

  • Category 1: Lip Products
  • Category 2: Deodorants/Antiperspirants
  • Category 3: Hydroalcoholic for Shaved Skin
  • Category 4: Hydroalcoholic for Unshaved Skin
  • Category 5: Hand Cream
  • Category 6: Mouthwash
  • Category 7: Intimate Wipes
  • Category 8: Hair Styling Aids
  • Category 9: Rinse-off Hair Conditioners
  • Category 10: Hard Surface Cleaners
  • Category 11: Candles

How to follow IFRA standards?

As a fragrance manufacturer, you can join your local IFRA organization. It will help you stay up to date with the new amendments and standards drafted by the IFRA.

Also, you can check the standards page on the IFRA website and read the most recent one. In March 2017, the last amendment is the 48th and you must be compliant with it.

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