Food Imitations Act 1989

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CrazyLuxuries

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I've only just found this info packed forum, wish I'd seen it months ago when I first started!

I have just had a visit from Trading Standards to 'advise' me that I am not allowed to make soap cupcakes or soap cake slices. Firstly I have never heard anything so ridiculous in all my life! Secondly - if this is a law, why then are the main sellers Lush & Bomb still allowed to sell theirs????

Why are all the shops throughout the UK selling cupcake soaps and bath fizzies, hand warmers, fruit shaped sponges, Avena sell apple fruit shaped soaps etc etc etc?????

If this was a blanket ban then fair enough, even though it is a stupid rule. But when it seems to differ from one Trading Standards (TS) authority to another as to whether they will allow it surely they then cant enforce such a ruling under discrimination?

A rule put in place so that 0-3yr olds, who cant see the DO NOT EAT ME sign or the 0-3 danger label, wont eat the soap and either choke to death or have serious toxins in their body. Has anyone ever heard of a case of Death by Soap? Errrmmm what 0-3yr old would be left alone on a bath anyway and if they were done surely thats a social services issue? If said age group is prone to eating everything then wheres the parents responsibility to keep it out of reach? Plus they would also try eating other soaps bought in supermarkets that would have far more chemicals in than mine. Said age group cant read the 0-3 danger labels on Lego but theres nothing stopping it crawling into its siblings bedroom and eating a small brighlty coloured lego brick, choking and dying! Is the parent going to sue Lego? I think not!

Having emailed a few major soap shops and wholesale soap suppliers the general response is if you have it labelled up correctly with all warnings on and safety assessments to back it up there shouldnt be any problem. Although I did get one rather rude and defensive reply from the director of Bomb!

Safety assessors vary in opinion too. One has commented NO WAY! It is a law and written into your assessment that you cannot make cake type soaps with this recipe. Whilst another well known assessor said so long as recipe is assessed to certify that it contains no harmful contents and packaging has warnings on it then its fine. Who to believe??

All I get from my TS officer (who by the way didnt bring applicably documentation with her on the very item she was getting me on) is well we havent got the resources to ban everyone! Discriminating again. Either its an across the board ban/law or it isnt. You cant be allowing half the soapers to make these and telling the other half they cant. I even have soapers in my county that have been told they are allowed to sell theirs!??!

Can anyone thats come across this utterly ridiculous regulation please let me know of their experiences with TS about it.

Thank you Jo x
 

dixiedragon

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Ugh. I'm in the US so I have no experience with that, but that sucks.

My dad owns a printing company. Our state passed a law taxing certain kinds of labels. But the law was very vague. If you aren't in the business, there are hundreds of kinds of labels and hundreds of uses for labels. Dad took a ton of samples down to the office in charge of this tax and sat a state employee down and asked him, "Look, just tell me which of these labels fall under this tax." The guy looked at the labels, looked at the regulation and finally just said, "It's incomprehensable. You need to sue the state." And my dad did. And won. Maybe you need to take a bunch of samples (or even just printouts from the net of samples) down to the Trading Standards office and ask somebody, "Hey, what's the deal?"

Possibly they are squeaking in under some technicality. Like maybe in the fine print it's a "decorative object" and not "soap". So even if it's MADE of soap, it's not intended to be used as soap.

Does the UK have a soaping guild? We have some in the US and they are very helpful for getting insurance and some legal advice. Maybe look into that?
 

pamielynn

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Wow - that's crazy. Here's a time when I'm glad I'm in the US - where government intrusion only applies to abortion and healthcare.

Good luck to you, getting that sorted out. Sounds completely ridiculous to me.
 

NurseEmily

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Wow - that's crazy. Here's a time when I'm glad I'm in the US - where government intrusion only applies to abortion and healthcare.
and public school curriculum, self and home defense, draining the middle class, creating dependency... Australia's looking good right about now... ha.

Anyway, to the OP, that's totally bogus. I'd be livid. I'm actually kinda livid FOR you. Why do governments think we're all retarded and we'd all be bumbling idiots without their "guidance"? If someone is dumb enough to feed their child soap and leave them unattended in the bath then THEY should deal with the law.
 

dixiedragon

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It's funny how we can be used to dealing with our own local restrictions and government quirks, but we hear about somebody else's and think, "Wow, that's nuts!"

For example, in much of my state, you can't buy alcohol on Sunday. And when you buy wine, they have to put it in its own little brown paper bag, which then goes in your larger bag of groceries. I guess so your produce and ground beef won't be tempted by the devil liquor. For some reason, this does not apply to sherry. It's something I've lived with my whole life and it just didn't even register with me as a problem.
 
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Okay, former UK dweller here. Hope I can help.

Section 4 of the act says that it is covered if it looks like food AND may cause death or injury. Can you die from eating a bar of soap? Serious question, as if not, you're okay.

Full text -
4. No person shall supply, offer to supply, agree to supply, expose for supply or possess for supply any manufactured goods which are ordinarily intended for private use and are not food but which–
(a)have a form, odour, colour, appearance, packaging, labelling, volume or size which is likely to cause persons, in particular, children to confuse them with food and in consequence to place them in their mouths or suck them or swallow them; and
(b)where such action as is mentioned in (a) above is taken in relation to them, may cause death or personal injury.

So you can make it look and smell like food if it's won't hurt to eat it. And by hurt, tasting nasty doesn't count - people can sell licorice and that stuff is vile.

If you can eat your products without dying, just hiccupping bubbles for a while, then do so in front of your TS officer.

The choking issue might still apply if your products are small enough for that to happen. Of course, one CAN choke on a grape, but they are still sold. Again, make your TS office a nice cup of (soap) tea and show that your products are non-toxic, if that is the case.

Hope this helps. Will look forward to finding out more.
 
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Also, I think they'd be hard pressed to say that a large amount can cause issues, because a lot of chewing gum, breath mints, sweets and so on can cause health problems. To be really blunt, people have died from drinking too much water before!
 

pamielynn

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and public school curriculum, self and home defense, draining the middle class, creating dependency... Australia's looking good right about now... ha.

Yeah, I was just being a smarta$$. I live in Texas right now - 'nuff said about government intrusion. I just can't believe the hoops soapers have to go through in other parts of the world.
 

lisamaliga

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CrazyLuxuries,
Thanks for posting this. It's incredible to see a ban on something like soapcakes or soap cupcakes.
My mom used to threaten me with "I'm going to wash your mouth out with soap if you say that!" Once she followed through. And it wasn't homemade soap that looked like a pretty cupcake, either. I can remember that soap tastes nasty. But it didn't harm me!
 

pamielynn

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If you need proof that homemade soap isn't dangerous, I'll send my dog over for a visit. He has now consumed THREE bars of soap over theyears. Leaves about a quarter of the bar behind each time, but my bars are about 6 oz. So, I'm guessing even soap that looks like food won't kill you :)
 

Obsidian

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If you need proof that homemade soap isn't dangerous, I'll send my dog over for a visit. He has now consumed THREE bars of soap over theyears. Leaves about a quarter of the bar behind each time, but my bars are about 6 oz. So, I'm guessing even soap that looks like food won't kill you :)

I was joust going to say that I have two dogs who will eat soap anytime they get a chance. Usually its leftovers that get dropped in the tub but they will take it out of the garbage too. They never get sick or show any signs of tummy upset.
 

lsg

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CrazyLuxuries,
Thanks for posting this. It's incredible to see a ban on something like soapcakes or soap cupcakes.
My mom used to threaten me with "I'm going to wash your mouth out with soap if you say that!" Once she followed through. And it wasn't homemade soap that looked like a pretty cupcake, either. I can remember that soap tastes nasty. But it didn't harm me!
That brought me a good chuckle. Have you seen Ralphie in the old movie, "A Christmas Story?" He gets his mouth washed out with soap and lets his imagination run wild.
 

jcatblum

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I think soap is often digested here in the US. There is even a seller on etsy that sells Potty Mouth Soap. I say fight the rule, what do you have to loose?
The way they are interrupting the law my chocolate vanilla & fruit loop soaps would be illegal. Many things smell like food that shouldn't be eaten. Craziness!
 
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CrazyLuxuries

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Thanks everyone.

I will certainly try the 'eating soap cake in front of TS' idea ;) That was sooo funny to read. Cheered me up no end.

Apparently our Daily mail newspaper here did an article on a woman in US who eats soap every day as she's addicted to it, so think I may have found the 'grey' area to challenge it with.
If they think I'm just going to say 'oh well ok I wont do them then' they can think again! They can enforce the whole country to make me do that.

jo x
 
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Good on you - just get the research done: what is in your products, how will it affect it and so on. And take care with it - if using M&P soap, make sure you check deeply in to the product that you use (I'm sure you have done so already, of course!)
 

lisamaliga

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Thanks everyone.

Apparently our Daily mail newspaper here did an article on a woman in US who eats soap every day as she's addicted to it, so think I may have found the 'grey' area to challenge it with.

jo x

ADDICTED to eating soap????!!!! Now that's truly bizarre.
 
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CrazyLuxuries Jo,

I gather from your inquiry that you make deliciously beautiful soaps. The kind that make babies crawl, climb and chomp... And make glands drool, eyes bug, and tummies rumble. WE WANT PICS!
 

CrazyLuxuries

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ImageUploadedBySoap Making1386572956.839497.jpg . This is my Black Forest Gateaux soap. :)
 

CrazyLuxuries

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ImageUploadedBySoap Making1386573296.046638.jpg or my Chocolate Overloads. I've taken them all off my websites for the moment but they WILL be back as I've found another soaper who took Trading Standards on about theirs and won.
 

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