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Can companies withhold ingredient info from consumers?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have an allergy to something in some antiperspirant products. Its not the aluminum..but something else and only in some brands..So I emailed one of the companies for the complete ingredient list and this is how it went down:

Hi Natalie,

Thanks for your patience!

Products marketed as drugs (those which have active ingredients and therefore require Drug Identification Numbers, or DINs) are not required to have the ingredients listed. ******* products with DINs include anti-perspirants or skin care products with SPF protection. However, if this is a medical necessity we would be more than happy to speak with your Physician should they wish to contact us. Please reply back with your complete mailing address, and phone number.

Please have your doctor fax us on Company letterhead directly to *******; please indicate to your doctor that this request must include your name, address, and phone number.

Upon receiving the requested information, you will be contacted directly.

Thank you for your interest!

And my reply:

Hi there,

As a consumer of the product, I believe I am entitled to the list of ingredients. I have an allergic reaction to the product and I would like to pinpoint what ingredient is causing it so I can refrain from using products with that ingredient in the future.

The allergic reaction is not serious enough that it causes me to see my doctor. I just simply use another antiperspirant to make the reaction go away. Getting a note from my doctor seems a little overkill to me as my doctor I'm sure has more important things to do with her time.

The whole point here is that perhaps I may not be allergic to another one of your antiperspirant products, but I am not about to purchase and try every single one you sell to test it out.

Please forward me the information I seek.

Thank you.

Natalie *******

I wonder if they are allowed to not tell me the ingredients!? Getting my doctor involved seems ridiculous to me.
post #2 of 12
I don't know how easy it would be, but most products have a patent (or pat. pending) number... you could search it up on the US patent website?
post #3 of 12
i actually have the same problem with antipresperants, for me i found out it is the "glue" that holds the stick deoderants together, i can use any spray or those ones thats almost a liquid.

i am pretty sure they have to tell you the ingrediants, thats why all products have to have that list on them. my mom has sevear allergies to MSG, a preservitive found in most proccessed food now, even one bite of something with msg causes her throat to swell and she cant breath. we had a problem when we went to KFC one time so i called the manager and explained the situation. He said that all we had to do is ask, he couldnt withold that information, he couldn't give us like the recipe but if we asked about a specific ingrediant he had to tell us. but thats food, as far as soaps and deoderants and such the rules may be different.
post #4 of 12
That would be a good question to have answer for you. Perhaps you can go to that website and post the question.
post #5 of 12
I think for food they do, but non-edible items I don't believe need complete lists.
post #6 of 12
Unfortunately Nat, you will probably have to get your doctor to fax them the information. Big companies like this usually don't care at all about their consumers, they just want to sell the most of their product. To them you are just one person and one person switching brands doesn't make much of a difference to them.
post #7 of 12
If the ingredient is their 'secret ingredient' I highly doubt they'll want to share it unless there's a doctor's note. Good luck though pinpointing that thing. I bet it's like a needle in a hay stack.
post #8 of 12
I think you're probably going to have to do it their way if you want the information, Nat. I'm pretty sure that it's only food where disclosure is required, not cosmetics and such. And then what you are up against is their desire not to disclose "trade secrets" -- don't want their formula to fall into the competition's hands, ya know. The poster who pointed out that they really don't care about one person buying someone else's product is quite right. That's a drop in the bucket, compared to the possibility of the competition having access to their information. It's all about the almighty $$$. And, while it's a pain in the patoot to do as they require, they can't be cited for refusing to divulge information that is medically necessary.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Well geesh, I wonder if I should just forget it then? Or should I bug my doctor for such a silly thing (not to mention pay for the doctors note).

Also, my boss just recently got me in to this doctor as a favour as we are short in do I really want my first appointment to be for a letter to a deoderant company?
post #10 of 12
Maybe put it on hold until you're seeing the doctor anyway, and mention it then?
post #11 of 12
In Canada it is mandatory for companies to list ALL ingredients for cosmetics, on the label.

A cosmetic is defined as "any substance or mixture of substances, manufactured, sold or represented for use in cleansing, improving or altering the complexion, skin, hair or teeth and includes deodorants and perfumes."
So no, they can't withhold that information from you. Not sure where they are getting their information from.

I would contact "Health Canada" and inform them that the company does not list their ingredients on the label and that they are refusing to provide you with the information that you have requested on 2 separate occasions.
post #12 of 12
talk about side-stepping the issue..
now The only thing I think they can leave out is a trade secret but anything other than that they should be complelled to release, you might want to take it up with comsumer and public affairs.
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