Pets are now considered as family members and it is increasingly evident that their role in the community is also growing in importance. They contribute to the joy and well-being of their owners, and in this period of great stress and isolation they have proved to be irreplaceable companions. Important studies show how living with a pet generates physical and mental benefits. It is therefore clear that, as is the case for other members of the family, you should carefully consider the choices made when buying products for them. To care about the welfare of our four-legged friends is to provide them not only with a diet tailored to their specific needs but also with a series of products aimed at their care and beauty.
Shampoos, cleansing wipes, polishing products, whitening serums, fragrances, lotions for cleaning the ears and periocular area, toothpastes and mouthwashes: the market of animal cosmetics is extremely flourishing and constantly growing, both in volume and in their diversification.
Although PET COSMETICS are becoming more and more widespread and of economic and social importance, to date there is no certification that regulates them; if in the field of cosmetics for human use there are precise rules that guarantee their quality and safety, in the case of animal hygiene products there are no equivalent rules!!!! It’s a jungle!
We talk about it today with Dr. Matteo Zanotti Russo, cosmetic chemist, founder of Angel Consulting, a leading company in international regulatory consulting, which developed the first self-discipline protocol to guarantee the safety of animal cosmetics Safe Pet Cosmetics® in collaboration with the Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences of the Alma Mater Studiorum of the University of Bologna.
GA: Dr. Zanotti Russo when did you start working on this Program and what motivated you to do so?
MZR: A few years ago the Istituto Superiore di Sanità had carried out spot checks on animal hygiene products in which several abnormalities in labeling and great variability in formulas and parameters such as pH were highlighted. It was also found the presence of traces of heavy metals such as mercury as evidence of the absence of precise rules. From that moment with a group of cosmetologists and veterinarians we have combined passion and expertise with the idea of creating a Disciplinary to try to give rules to a category of cosmetics that is, still today, in a normative chasm.
In Europe, as there is no specific law, the “Consumer Code” applies to any object sold – shoes, watches, etc. – and protects only the buyer of the product who is not the actual user. Animal detergents follow the same laws that apply to the detergent industry. Therefore, aggressive surfactants may be used. It is legal to recycle even expired, degraded and unsuitable cosmetics and to use ingredients with a low degree of purity, which are very cheap and often cause dermatitis, infections, allergies and systemic diseases.
GA: It is inconceivable that in Europe there is still no official regulation in the animal cosmetics sector. I fully agree with your idea to create a Safety Protocol to fill this legislative gap. What exactly is it about?
MZR: The Safe Pet Cosmetics® Program is a voluntary protocol to which companies commit to protect the health and dignity of animals by applying the same standards to the production process as those governing cosmetics for humans, suitably adapted to the different needs of the skin and hair of the animal and committing to spreading the culture of animal protection with appropriate certification.
GA: How do the controls and conformity checks take place?
MZR: The products and companies throughout the production chain are examined by experts in the field of cosmetic production and animal toxicology: inspections take place at the time of application for certification, continue periodically and are conducted “by surprise”. Only after verifying the supply chain and its products, are issued for the company and the specific products the Certificates of Conformity valid for one year. Checks are repeated annually, except for surprise checks.
GA: What are the key principles of the Safe Pet Cosmetics® Program?
MZR: Transparency to the consumer who will be able to access in real time through QR-Code.ZR all the information related to the business conduct, the description of the supply chain and the peculiarities of the ingredients.
Impartiality of the Program that operates with independence implemented through a “third party” certification, whose validation procedures are carried out by an accredited body (Bureau Veritas) independent both from the company and from those who have structured the protocol.
Guarantee that animal cosmetics are manufactured in facilities that apply the same high quality standards required by human cosmetics, and all products are placed on the market only after having undergone the controls and checks required for human cosmetics.
Code of Ethics and Penal Code refers to the constant commitment by the company that voluntarily adheres to the Program to maintain the certified standard over time and to commit itself, in case of conduct contrary to the purpose of the Disciplinary, to reimburse the Control Body with compensation and to donate a sum equal to that paid to a recognized non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of animals.
The animals are true masters of Love, every second at their side is a priceless gift. Who has tried it knows it! Let’s always protect them.