FDA contacts Lime Crime over Red Velvet

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

This blog post has been edited since originally published on August 12, 2015 at 12:29 PM Eastern.


The FDA has contacted Doe Deere specifically over Lime Crime's Red Velvet Velvetine liquid lipstick. According to the letter the packaging for Red Velvet states that Red Velvet contains ferric ferrocyanide and ultramarines which is a no-no.

FDA Warning Letter to Doe Deere:

Public Health Service
Food and Drug Administration
5100 Paint Branch Parkway            
College Park, MD 20740 

 JULY 29, 2015
Ms. Doe Deere, CEO
Lime Crime, Inc.
20501 Ventura Blvd Ste. 220
Woodland Hills, CA 91364
Re: CMS#461005
Dear Ms. Deere:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reviewed your product, Lime Crime Velvetines Liquid Matte Lipstick (red velvet). As Velvetines Liquid Matte Lipstick is intended to be applied to the human body for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance, it is a cosmetic within the meaning of Section 201(i) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) [21 U.S.C. § 321(i)]. As described below, your Velvetines Liquid Matte Lipstick (red velvet) product is adulterated within the meaning of Section 601(e) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 361(e)]. It is a violation of Section 301(a) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 331(a)] to introduce or deliver for introduction into interstate commerce any cosmetic that is adulterated or misbranded. You can find copies of the Act and its implementing regulations through links on FDA’s home page at http://www.fda.gov.
Under Section 601(e) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 361(e)], a cosmetic is adulterated if it is not a hair dye and it is, or it bears or contains, a color additive which is unsafe within the meaning of section 721(a). Under section 721(a), a color additive is unsafe unless it is used in conformity with a regulation listing the additive for such use. Velvetines Liquid Matte Lipstick (red velvet) is an adulterated cosmetic because it bears or contains a color additive which is unsafe within the meaning of section 721(a). Specifically, according to your product label, Velvetines Liquid Matte Lipstick (red velvet) contains ferric ferrocyanide and ultramarines, which are only permitted for use in coloring externally applied cosmetics as prescribed in 21 CFR § 73.2299 and 21 CFR § 73.2725, respectively. Under 21 CFR § 70.3(v) “[t]he terms externally applied drugs and externally applied cosmetics mean drugs or cosmetics applied only to external parts of the body and not to the lips or any body surface covered by mucous membrane.” These color additives therefore may not be used in cosmetic lip products, because such use is not in conformity with the regulations that provide for the use of these additives. Alternatively, if your product does not contain ferric ferrocyanide and ultramarines, your product is misbranded under Section 602(a) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 362(a)] because its labeling is false.
The violations cited in this letter are not intended to be an all-inclusive list of the violations that exist in connection with your product. You are responsible for investigating and determining the causes of the violations identified above and for preventing their recurrence or the occurrence of other violations. It is your responsibility to ensure that all products marketed by your firm comply with the Act and its implementing regulations.
We request that you take prompt action to correct the violations cited in this letter. Failure to promptly correct these violations may result in legal action without further notice, including, without limitation, seizure and/or injunction.
Please notify this office in writing within fifteen (15) working days of the receipt of this letter as to the specific steps you have taken to correct the stated violations, including an explanation of each step being taken to identify violations and make corrections to ensure that similar violations will not recur. If you do not believe that your product is in violation of the Act, include your reasoning and any supporting information for our consideration. If the corrective action cannot be completed within fifteen working days, state the reason for the delay and the time frame within which the corrections will be implemented. 
You should direct your written reply to Dehlia Young, Compliance Officer, Division of Enforcement (HFS-608), Office of Compliance, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy, College Park, MD 20740. If you have any questions regarding this letter, you may contact Ms. Young via email at dehlia.young@fda.hhs.gov.
William A. Correll
Office of Compliance
Center for Food Safety
         and Applied Nutrition

So this has been somewhat of a hot topic in one of the groups that I belong to on Facebook. At first when I saw this letter I was irritated by the fact that once again Lime Crime is coming under public scrutiny for doing something wrong. There is always some kind of controversy surrounding this company and in the past I've chalked up some of her antics to something or another but after the credit card breech I've decided that enough was enough for me and I made the decision to no longer do business with Lime Crime. Now this issue with the LABELING for the RED VELVET Velvtine liquid lipstick.

So I pulled out the packaging for my Red Velvet which I bought when it first launched. Since they launched Suedeberry and Red Velvet they have changed the packaging. I've previously purchased Pink Velvet which uses what I believe is the current packaging. Since the letter was specifically on Red Velvet I looked at the ingredients on the box and I do not see ferric ferrocyanide nor ultramarines listed.

Lime Crime Red Velvet - original box packaging

I then went on the hunt to find the ingredient list for the new packaging and came across Sabrina Tajudin's blog and she had previously posted the newer box packaging with the ingredients as well.

Image from Sabrina Tajudin's blog.
There are a few differences in the ingredients however like the original packaging the box that Sabrina had also does not contain ferric ferrocyanide or ultramarines. Lime Crime has been stating on their Instagram account and Facebook account that it was a label misprint and some Red Velvet boxes accidentally listed those two ingredients however their actual product does not contain either ingredient. It's possible it was a misprint however this particular company has had too many issues and my own trust in the company is essentially gone. Unfortunately, the FDA will most likely NOT be testing the products since they typically do not test cosmetics and the letter sent was a WARNING letter which requires Lime Crime to simply respond and according to Lime Crime posts they have already responded.

I did type up the ingredients from my Red Velvet packaging and compared it to the ingredients listed on their site. Some differences however that can be chalked up to a formulation change. To be honest, we'll probably never know unless someone hires an independent testing company to test the makeup.

So does Red Velvet Velvetine liquid lipstick contain ferric ferrocyanide or ultramarines? I don't know. My label does not include either ingredient and Sabrina's label does not include either ingredient so it is possible it was a printing error. That said, personally at this time I very much doubt I would ever return to Lime Crime as a customer no matter how tempting their Velvetines are. My last Velvetine purchase was Pink Velvet which I believe was also the last time I made any purchase with Lime Crime and that was December 5, 2013.


Erin N. posted in a private Facebook group the back of her PINK Velvet box. While Pink Velvet and the other Velvetine shades were not the subject of the FDA letter the packaging that Erin posted and the following images she sent me clearly shows that ferric ferrocyanide and ultramarines ARE listed on the packaging. It was the labeling on the current packaging (which I'll call packaging version #3) is what triggered the complaints to the FDA since apparently people had been contacting Lime Crime about it for months now!

Images courtesy of Erin N.
Pink Velvet
So are the "new" Velvetines the same as when first launched? Going by the ingredients both on their website AND on their current labels NO. Would I use the newer Velvetines? No. Whether the ingredients are approved for lips in the EU is a moot point because there are three versions of the Velvetines. We honestly don't know what's in those Velvetines since Lime Crime is claiming there is a labeling mistake but has yet to recall the newer products. Really Lime Crime?! Really?! Why risk it? There are other alternatives including Dose of Color which is rumored to be using the same manufacturer as Lime Crime.


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