The weather is changing as a new season begins and it’s time to review recent FDA activity in the cosmetic sector. In June 2013 FDA published a draft guidance revising the Good Manufacturing Practices for cosmetics. While these GMPs remain voluntary, FDA Agents will use these guidelines when inspecting cosmetic facilities. FDA first published cosmetic GMP inspection guidelines in 1997 and updated them in 2008. FDA participates in the International Cooperation on Cosmetic Regulations (ICCR) and this latest update incorporates portions of the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO’s) current standard for cosmetic GMPs (ISO 22716:2007). The new guidance expands the section on documentation and record keeping; placing this information at the beginning of the guidance. The sections on facilities, equipment, personnel, raw materials, production and laboratory controls are expanded as well. There are new sections on water used as an ingredient, color additives and prohibited cosmetic ingredients. The section on water used as a cosmetic ingredient states in part that the water is to be of defined quality and is to be tested or monitored to verify that it “meets applicable chemical, physical and microbiological specifications for quality”. It is also noted that the water system “should be routinely cleaned and sanitized according to an appropriate SOP that ensures no biofilm build-up.” Surprisingly, the new guidance omits the section on labeling that was included in the older version. It is unlikely that FDA inspectors will skip label reviews during an inspection since labeling requirements are codified in regulations. Although the revised draft guidance does not have the force of law, if it is followed, it can help you ensure that your production facility would pass inspection. The full guidance may be viewed here.