Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Herb Hut

As things grew tighter in my workspace I knew I needed another place to dry all the herbs I grow and to keep them out of my manufacturing area. So early this spring I bought a 'canopy', the kind intended for storing vehicles and tools etc. This works for a number of reasons including that our zoning only allows for 'temporary structures' on our property as additional buildings. I always like the idea of having a building not permanent anyway since I can change my mind sometimes.

The structure was easy to put up, we did it in a few hours on a Sunday. I moved in a table and a rack that we had that is great for drying herbs. I can set baskets on either surface for drying as well as hang bundles from the rack. There are a few wire supports running from one side to the other where I can also hang bundles. Over the summer the herb hut has proved to be quite useful and a great place to dry the herbs because of the heat that builds up. I need to
set more time aside for getting the herbs destemmed and into their jars and bags and put away. Over the winter the herb hut will probably be storage for some of our garden tools.
Where do you dry herbs?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Registration Requirements of the Safe Cosmetics Act

Registration Requirements of the Safe cosmetics Act
Section 612

Registration of cosmetics manufacturers seems reasonable, and I think that anyone who makes cosmetics should be registered with the FDA. By doing so it allows open communication between FDA and cosmetics manufacturers so that information about ingredient toxicity can be openly shared. Its interesting though that this bill exempts small businesses, those that sell less than $2M annually, from registering with the FDA. I am confused about the reason for this. Without registering there is no open communication and no means for small businesses to get up to date information from the FDA. It also brings up the suspicion by consumers and other regulatory organizations that small businesses do not necessarily make safe cosmetics since they are not in contact with FDA. This is anything but leveling the playing field. As a small (micro) business I do not want to feel second rate and am proud to be voluntarily registered with the FDA already.

Cosmetic companies would be required to file a report of all cosmetics they produce and the functions of such cosmetics. The FDA already defines cosmetics as "articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body...for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance" so its unclear if they are wanting more information on the function of the cosmetic or not. Reporting gross sales from cosmetics is required; forcing small privately owned businesses to reveal personal financial information. Yes, I do feel like this violates my rights. Sole proprietorship's and LLCs should not be required to make public their personal finances. I’m curious how FDA will even be able to keep track of this, especially when small businesses are not even required to register. I fear a lot of companies will be trying to ‘fly under the wire’ or go ‘underground’ so to speak, not have the knowledge they need and make unsafe cosmetics because of that.

The part I mainly object to is that companies must supply the name and address of any company that supplies ingredients. This is especially difficult for a small company as suppliers can change frequently. This prevents any last minute changes in formulas. If I happen to run out of olive oil from my supplier I have listed, I cannot go to the grocery store to buy emergency olive oil as I have been known to do. Any errors or inaccuracies in information submitted can lead to cancellation of registration or even

What's an alternative? I think cosmetics companies should all register with the FDA. This allows a path of communication between the FDA and manufacturers that is important. Not only to receive up to date information from the FDA but also for the FDA to receive information from manufacturers and consumers on adverse reactions. Fees can and should be waived for small companies. Suppliers should not have to be reported to the FDA. If olive oil is safe why does the FDA care who I buy it from? As long as safe ingredients are used it doesn't seem like a good use of FDA time to have to keep track of where I buy them from.

But what's worse is that now legislation is being introduced in a number of states to regulate cosmetics at that level as well. This means there is a good chance that you will have to deal with this type of registration in each and every state as well as at the national level.

If you are a small business how do you feel about this part of the bill?

Boulder County Fair

We had a great time at the Boulder County Fair this year and entered out herbs again. We came home with quite a few ribbons with our chocolate mint again doing quite well. This is the same chocolate mint we distill to make our aromatic waters that make a great refreshing face mist. Other herbs we entered include lavender, chives, oregano, parsley, tarragon, thyme, sage, echinacea, peppermint, and lemon balm. It seems county fairs are decreasing in size every year. I love to see the animals, quilts, jams, etc. Fairs are a wonderful way for people to gather and celebrate agriculture and the rural lifestyle. I love participating in them and supporting them how I can. Do you participate in your county fair?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Denver County Fair

These are some of the soap entries.

Stephanie and her co-judge working on jams/jellies.

The Denver county Fair was held this weekend at the National Western complex. This was surprisingly the first county fair in Denver. It wasn't run by the county as other fairs are but was put on by a for profit organization. This, plus being held in a very urban county makes it unique. I was at the fair on official business being a judge for herbs, veggies, soaps and lotions which was quite an interesting experience. There were quite a few entries in all divisions which made judging difficult.

Soap judging was hard; every soap entered was fantastic. I worked with Amy Kulinchuk of Soap Crone. I have to say we were quite clean after testing all the soaps. Lotions there were fewer of so it went faster. I examined the herbs with fellow herbalist Peggy Vonburg who writes a wonderful blog called Woman With Wings. Garlic was indeed the hardest category to choose a winner from as they were all great. The Bouncy Room!
Beer Judging; I'll like to get in on that next year! Coloradan love their microbrew!


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