In a previous post entitled "Cosmetics Sold to Consumers with No FDA Screening" the FDA’s lack of authority over consumer cosmetics was discussed. More detail, however, is owed regarding the FDA’s inability to force product recalls.
Regarding the recall policy for cosmetics the FDA's website reads, “FDA has no authority under the FD&C Act to order a recall of a cosmetic, although it can request that a firm recall a product.”
This active involvement assists firms in monitoring cosmetic recalls and taking the appropriate action. Consumers play a large part in reporting cosmetic product failures through MedWatch online or by calling 1 (800) 332-1088. Once discovered, the FDA conducts private testing on cosmetics reported to be potentially harmful. If product testing reveals a safety issue the FDA may seek legal intervention to prohibit further sale of the cosmetic.
Upon the discovery of a damaged or adulterated product, if a company refuses to recall the cosmetic the FDA can pursue legal action through the Department of Justice. The charges brought against a cosmetic firm will vary depending on the health hazard classification and other factors. The FDA may also request a restraining order against the manufacturer or ask that the government seize the contaminated product, thereby removing the product from market by legal force.
Per the FDA’s website legal action may include: