Essential oil label guideline

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) announced on August 2nd that it has created a new guidance policy for the labeling of essential oils sold for topical use and offered for retail trade. The AHPA board of trustees adopted the guidance at its recent July meeting.

The AHPA board had adopted in July 2009 and amended in July 2011 a trade requirement for the labeling of essential oils. But it believes that additional labeling may address other issues that do not rise to the same level of a requirement, but that nonetheless represent good labeling practice.

The new essential oils guidance outlines several recommended inclusions for labels and labeling, including:

  • Common or usual name of the source plant
  • An expiration date or date of manufacture
  • The extraction process
  • Storage cautions
  • Usage instructions
  • Usage cautions

For clarity and to facilitate easy referencing, both the AHPA trade requirement and the new guidance policy are displayed together on the AHPA website.

Additionally, compiled with input from members of AHPA’s Botanical Personal Care Products Committee, the most common forms of extraction methods encountered in retail trade, including distillation, expression, and solvent are identified and defined.

AHPA develops guidance policies to advance its mission to promote responsible commerce in herbal supplements. These policies address a variety of labeling and manufacturing issues and reflect the consensus of AHPA’s members and its board of trustees. Unlike AHPA’s trade recommendations, compliance with AHPA’s guidance policies is not a condition of membership. Nevertheless, AHPA encourages its members and non-member companies to adopt each of these policies in the interest of establishing consistent and informed trade practices.

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