Shedding Some Light on the Sunscreen (Product Safety Standard) Act 2022

Summer may be over, but there are sunny days ahead for sunscreen advocates with the recent introduction of the Sunscreen (Product Safety Standard) Act 2022.

In essence, the Act aims to increase consumer confidence in Sun Protection Factor (SPF) claims (labelling or advertising products using an SPF rating) by requiring sunscreens to comply with the joint Australian/New Zealand sunscreen standard (AS/NZS 2604:2012).  In broad terms, an SPF rating indicates how effective a product is at providing protection from the sun, with products with a high SPF rating offering greater protection than those with a low SPF rating.

Regulation of sunscreens in New Zealand

In New Zealand, sunscreens are currently classified as cosmetics and do not require pre-approval/consent before marketing.  However, businesses that make SPF claims must comply with the Fair Trading Act 1986 (FTA).  The FTA prohibits a person from making false, misleading or unsubstantiated representations about goods or services in trade, including representations that goods are of a particular standard or have particular performance characteristics.  Effectively, this means that businesses must be able to substantiate an SPF claim.  This is generally done by showing that a particular product has its claimed SPF rating when tested in accordance with a globally recognised sunscreen standard.  However, inconsistency between these standards can result in confusion for consumers and businesses around which standards provide an adequate basis for SPF claims. 

Sunscreen (Product Safety Standard) Act 2022

The Act seeks to address this issue by mandating compliance with the AS/NZ standard so that a single standard for the testing and labelling of sunscreens is applied in New Zealand.  It does this by deeming the AS/NZ standard a ‘product safety standard’ for sunscreen products for the purposes of section 29 of the FTA.  Effectively, this means that businesses are prohibited (under section 30 of the FTA) from supplying, offering to supply, or advertising to supply a sunscreen product that does not comply with the AS/NZ standard.  Failing to comply can result in fines of up to $600,000 (for companies) and up to $200,000 (for individuals).

The above requirements come into effect on 8 September 2022, allowing time for manufacturers and suppliers to comply with the new legislation.  There is an exemption in respect of sunscreen products manufactured or imported into New Zealand prior to 8 March 2022, which applies for a duration of 12 months after the new requirements come into effect.

Future developments

Although the Act increases regulation of the sunscreen industry in New Zealand, many advocacy groups are hoping it is only an interim measure before further regulation is introduced.  For example, Cancer Society NZ and Consumer NZ are calling for sunscreens to be more highly regulated as a “therapeutic product” under the proposed Therapeutic Products and Medicines Bill (intended to replace the Medicines Act 1981).  Accordingly, future developments in this area are quite possible.  

If you would like further information about the new legislation, or how it may affect your business, please get in touch with our Business Advice Team or your usual contact at Hesketh Henry.

Disclaimer:  The information contained in this article is current at the date of publishing and is of a general nature.  It should be used as a guide only and not as a substitute for obtaining legal advice.  Specific legal advice should be sought where required.

Do you need expert legal advice?
Contact the expert team at Hesketh Henry.
Media contact - Kerry Browne
Please contact Kerry with any media enquiries and with any questions related to marketing or sponsorships on +64 9 375 8747 or via email.

Related Articles / Insights & Opinion

Computer Hand Wide
Privacy Commissioner releases draft biometrics privacy code
Biometrics is a trending issue and with the development of technology there are consistently more ways biometric data can be used, from replacing a password to identifying repeat shoplifters in a shop...
03.05.2024 Posted in Business Advice
Building Permit
Build-to-Rent (BTR) Basics
If the term Build-to-Rent is new to you, you are probably not alone.  Unlike countries such as the USA, UK and Australia where BTR is well established, the BTR sector is still emerging in New Zealand...
26.04.2024 Posted in Property
Insurance Contract Law – Parliament finally gets to consider long-awaited reforms
The Government’s Contracts of Insurance Bill was introduced on 30 April 2024.  We are currently reviewing that Bill and a new article is coming soon. In February 2022, the Ministry of Business, Inn...
24.04.2024 Posted in Insurance
Tower Troubles – Body Corporate 366567 (Harbour Oaks) v Auckland Council
Standing 40 storeys tall with 406 units, the Gore Street building in downtown Auckland (formerly known as “Harbour Oaks”) is presently the subject of New Zealand’s largest claim for residential ...
18.04.2024 Posted in Construction & Disputes
Construction Framework Wide BW
OIO Spotlight:  Government issues new directive on foreign investment for build-to-rent housing developments
Earlier this year, the coalition Government announced that it would be introducing a new streamlined consent pathway for build-to-rent developments by way of amendments to the Overseas Investment Act ...
16.04.2024 Posted in Business Advice & Property
Incorporated societies’ reregistration deadline – April 2026 may be closer than you think
The Incorporated Societies Act 2022 (2022 Act) came fully into force on 5 October 2023, meaning incorporated societies can now apply for reregistration under the 2022 Act.  Approximately 24,000 exist...
16.04.2024 Posted in Business Advice
iStock  Construction dpi
Call me? Care is required when calling on a bond
In the recent High Court decision Hawkins Ltd v Elizabeth Properties Ltd, Hawkins was successful in preventing EPL from calling on a $3m bond pending determination of a dispute principally over the ap...
Send us an enquiry

For expert legal advice, please complete the form below or call us on (09) 375 8700.