Cosmetics giant L’Oreal has been called out by consumers for mislabelling their products as vegan. Twitter user @jonaweinhofen shared a photo of a L’Oreal product with the marker ‘100% VEGAN’. However, the user points out that the stamp is not certified and since the company’s products are tested on animals, they are not vegan.
Since the demand for vegan products is growing, many brands may adopt the vegan label as a marketing ploy. However this may not be wise, particularly when the label is falsifying information. For example, the FDA states that there is no current legal definition of the terms including “Cruelty-Free” and “Not Tested on Animals”, meaning cosmetic companies can adopt the phrasing as they see fit.
L’Oreal, who have utilized the above stamp, argue that their company does not personally test on animals. However, their involvement with the Chinese market (which require animal testing) means that L’Oreal’s products are in fact tested on animals by a third party, due to China’s cosmetics regulations. Consequently, PETA or Leaping Bunny (the gold-standard in cruelty-free certification for personal care and household products companies) do not acknowledge them as cruelty-free.
The regulations surrounding consumer awareness and the transparency of companies is limited. An ongoing campaign supported by Lush is exposing the issue of mislabelling, as they reveal that products can be labelled as ‘100% faux fur’ even when they are fur items.
The campaign is lobbying for more comprehensive laws on labelling, to stop brands from misleading consumers.
But with all this confusion, how are consumers expected to navigate the shopping world? Fortunately, some businesses are clarifying these stamps. Vegan Action administer the “Certified Vegan” logo, meaning the product is not made from animals and has not been tested on them. If you are unsure, you can search companies or products on PETA’s database.