20 Jun 2018
Lonza Emphasizes Importance of Preventing Microbial Contamination Following Burkholderia Cepacia Outbreak

Blackley (UK), 20 June 2018 – Lonza is emphasizing the importance of preventing microbial contamination by incorporating targeted, compatible and effective preservatives in consumer product formulations following a number of personal care product recalls due to contamination with the pathogenic Gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia cepacia.

In May 2018 a skin-cleansing foam was recalled due to a Burkholderia cepacia outbreak across a number of U.S. states. Additionally, topical skin-protectant cloths were recalled in multiple countries in August 2016 and baby wipes were recalled in the United States in October 2014 as a result of previous contamination scares involving this same organism.

“Microbial contamination caused by species like Burkholderia cepacia in consumer products is a key public health issue,” said Phil Hindley, Head of Global Marketing, Preservation. “The resulting recall can become a critical business issue, with negative impacts associated with the management of the recall, including physical loss of product and packaging, additional shipping requirements, destruction and disposal of product, and potential damage to brand equity.”

“Preservatives…in cosmetics…reduce the risk of microbial contamination of the product and … ensure the product remains suitable and safe during shelf-life and the period of their use by consumers,” according to the International Cooperation on Cosmetic Regulation (ICCR) Working Group on Cosmetic Product Preservation. “Without the use of preservatives, cosmetic products – just like food and other products handled directly by consumers – can become contaminated with microorganisms, leading to product spoilage, loss of product performance, and possibly irritation, infections or other adverse health reactions to the consumer.”1

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that “Companies and individuals who manufacture or distribute cosmetics are legally responsible for the safety of their products.”2 This obligation includes ensuring that the cosmetic products they market are free from microbial contamination and safe to use. The FDA continues by outlining several ways a cosmetic can become contaminated with microorganisms:

  • “Contaminated raw materials, water or other ingredients;
  • Poor manufacturing conditions;
  • Ingredients that encourage growth of microorganisms, without an effective preservative system;
  • Packaging that doesn't protect a product adequately;
  • Poor shipping or storage conditions;
  • Consumer use, such as the need to dip fingers into the product."2

Broad Array of Preservatives

Lonza is committed to supporting the global consumer product industry and the finished product manufacturers by offering the broadest array of preservatives for use in cosmetics and other consumer products.

“In fact,” Hindley said, “select preservatives within the Geogard® and Mikrokill® portfolios have been specifically shown to be active against the pathogen Burkholderia cepacia.”

Lonza preservatives offer wide global acceptance and regulatory compliance, as well as broad spectrum anti-microbial efficacy, robust data packages and extensive substrate compatibility.

For information on Preservatives, contact Phil Hindley, Head of Global Marketing, Preservation.


1 ICCR Working Group on Cosmetic Product Preservation (https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/15281/attachments/1/translations/en/renditions/native)

2 FDA, Microbiological Safety and Cosmetics (https://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/PotentialContaminants/ucm433748.htm).