The past year has been a challenging one for the fragrance industry, noted Kim Bleimann (Berjé) during his president’s address at the International Fragrance Association North America (IFRANA) 2012 annual business meeting. Between legislation and antifragrance sentiment among NGOs and the media, it is necessary for industry organizations to take on an expanded role in advocacy.
IFRANA’s establishment of a separate office and staff in the wake of IFRA’s global reorganization. The move, said Bleimann, has strengthened the group’s pro-fragrance advocacy. Fighting chemophobia and anti-fragrance activists solely with science has not been sufficiently successful, he noted. To cite just two high-profile antiindustry examples in the past year, television personality Dr. Oz has warned the public of the “dangers” of dryer sheets, and television news magazine 60 Minutes ran a negatively slanted exposé on the flavor industry. And so, amid a lack of clarity on labeling issues, IFRANA is taking a stronger leadership position on the issues that impact ingredient suppliers, manufacturers and finished goods houses.
Even as IFRANA faces negative messaging, there remains a lack of a unified positioning on labeling issues among industry trade groups. At the same time, the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety is proposing an expansion of its “26 well-recognized fragrance allergens” list to at least 82 materials, including 28 naturals.