Street Address – Your Choices

Posted in: Soap & Cosmetic Labeling

Even though the requirements for the street address on the label are pretty clear cut, it still seems to be an issue for those working out of their homes.

The street address IS required on the product label, but may be omitted under certain circumstances (the city, state and zip code are always required).  The regulations that define those “certain circumstances” are different for cosmetics and other products (including soap when it is exempt from the definition of a cosmetic).

Note that a PO Box does NOT ever qualify as a street address.

Cosmetics

The FDA regulations still say the street address may be omitted if it is included in a “city or phone directory”.  In their 2015 response to the HSCG’s petition to allow a PO box, they clarified that it may not be  a PO box, but did say that it could be an online or print directory and gave some examples.  See my blog post FDA Responds to HSCG PO Box Petition for more details.

Non-Cosmetics

For products that are not cosmetics (including soap that is exempt from the definition of a cosmetic), the FTC regulations apply.  The FTC recently updated their regulations defining what standards must be met in order to omit the street address from the label.  Basically, the address must be published in a readily accessible, widely published, and publicly available resource,  which most likely includes a publicly accessible website or an online database (such as a state business listing).

Your Options

In deciding how to handle the issue of your street address and your label, you have a couple of possibilities:

Use the street address on the label.

This always works.

List your business in an online phone or city directory (including the street address in the listing) and then omit the street address on the label.

This meets the requirements for both cosmetic and non-cosmetic products.

List your street address on your “readily-findable, publicly accessible” website, and omit the street address from your label.

This meets the requirements for non-cosmetic products.

This does NOT meet the requirements for cosmetic products.  However, if you do this and it comes to the FDA’s attention, you have the potential justification and explanation that the regulations from the FTC were likely vetted by their attorney and do comply with the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act.

Your Choice

You will need to decide what is the best course of action for your business and your situation.




4 Comments on “Street Address – Your Choices”

  1. Diana Pierce

    Do you think listing my address on an Etsy or FaceBook page qualify as “readily-findable, publicly accessible”?

    1. Marie Gale

      I dont’ know exactly what the standards are … but my guess is that “readily-findable” would be that it comes up in a search at Google and is high enough on the list that someone would see it (first page, maybe?). I honestly don’t know how Google does with indexing Facebook or Etsy pages, so I can’t comment for sure.

  2. Holly Hepworth

    If a business card with the street address is always included with every purchase, does this qualify as meeting the requirement for both cosmetic and noncosmetic?

    1. Marie Gale

      The intention of the regulations is to make it possible for the consumer to make “value comparisons” when shopping. They are supposed to be able to see the information when shopping, before purchasing. So technically just putting a business card in with the purchase wouldn’t be sufficient. the only possible exception would be if you are selling in person, at a craft show for example, where the information is posted and visible, you’re selling unpackaged soap and then you include the card with the purchase.

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