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What is ACMA?

  • An association of cosmetic manufacturers and distributors with offices in the nation's capital and represents the interests of American companies that wish to export their personal care products.
  • ACMA focuses on certifying documents such as Certificates of Free Sale, Good Manufacturing Practice Certificates and BSE Certificates.

Why use ACMA?

  • ACMA offers its members a wealth of resources, from certification in Good Manufacturing Practices to navigating the document legalization process.

What is a Certificate of Free Sale ?

  • A Certificate of Free Sale (CFS) is required by many countries before they will allow the import of products.
  • This Certificate states that the products listed upon it are the same as the ones sold freely throughout the United States in interstate commerce, and that they meet all state and Federal regulations.

What is a GMP Certificate?

  • GMP certificate (Good Manufacturing Practices) is issued as confirmation that products or materials were consistently manufactured and controlled according to quality standards.
  • Products must be produced in accordance to Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 700.3-700.27.
  • A GMP Certificate is required by many countries before they will allow the import of products that could pose a health hazard to consumers.

What is a BSE Certificate?

  • A BSE Certificate is a directive stating that products were produced without using materials at risk for infection with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), often called "Mad Cow Disease".
  • The products must be produced according to Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, 700.27, Use of Prohibited Cattle Materials in Cosmetic Products, October 11, 2006.
  • The BSE certificate is required by many countries before they will allow the import of products that contain ingredients that might contain material at risk for infection with BSE.

What is a TSE Compliance Certificate?

  • To protect against Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE)*, cosmetics may not be manufactured from, processed with, or otherwise contain, prohibited bovine, caprine or ovine materials. These materials include specified risk materials, material from non-ambulatory cattle, material from cattle not inspected and passed, or mechanically separated beef.
  • A complete list of restricted and banned ingredients is available at the US FDA website www.fda.gov.
  • A TSE Certificate is issued by companies able to demonstrate that the products listed do not contain any prohibited materials and that the manufacturing process and packaging are equally free of contamination.
  • A TSE Certificate is signed by a company official in the presence of a notary, who then seals the document. The document can then be certified, authenticated and legalized, or certified and apostilled, for use in a foreign country.
  • In some cases, a TSE Certificate on company letterhead is sufficient, but many countries prefer that documents receive additional certification from a Chamber of Commerce or trade association, such as ACMA.

What is a Certificate of Sanitation?

  • Certain countries require certification that the products were manufactured in a safe or sanitary facility, materials used (particularly water) are from safe and sanitary sources, waste materials are disposed of properly and personnel are appropriately trained to monitor production. These certificates are issued by government agencies such as Boards of Health. Once certified, the document must be legalized or apostilled for use in the country of export.

What are the limitations on the certificates issued by ACMA?

  • Every certificate issued by ACMA must state the country of use, and valid for 18 months from date of issue.
  • The certificate may only be issued for one purpose. For example a certificate can only be issued for either a CFS, GMP, or BSE.

How do I Get a Certificate Ready for Use Abroad ?

  • Before it can be used in a foreign country, a Certificate must be apostilled or legalized for use.
  • If the foreign country is a member of the Hague Convention of 1961, the certificate is signed, notarized, and apostilled by the office of the secretary of state where the notary is licensed.
  • If the country is NOT a member of the Hague Convention, the Certificate is signed, notarized and authenticated by the office of the secretary of state where the notary is licensed, further authenticated bby the U.S. Secretary of State in Washington, D.C. and then presented to the relevant embassy for legalization. Once the embassy has stamped or sealed the Certificate, it is legal for use.
  • All certificates issued by ACMA are prepared in the proper method of use: i.e. apostilled or legalized and ready for use in the destination country.

What is a Corporate Statement?

  • ACMA members must file a Corporate Statement (Affidavit) with ACMA that allows ACMA to issue certificates without any processing delay. The Statement is a notarized document signed by a corporate officer listing all products or materials produced and/or sold by the company. This statement qualifies the company to request certificates from ACMA. A new statement is required for any change in the product line.

Why do I need to fill out a Corporate Statement?

  • ACMA certificates are respected throughout the world because our members agree to meet standards for manufacturing practices that guarantee quality cosmetic and personal care products.
  • A corporate statement is a notarized document that is used by ACMA to generate Certificates of Free Sale (CFS), BSE Certificates and Certificates of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). ACMA requests substantiating documentation, when necessary, such as laboratory analyses, inspection results, materials declarations, etc.
  • The notarized Corporate Statement is a legal document, signed by a company officer, that guarantees that a company meets all the requirements of the ACMA membership agreement.

How can I verify ACMA Certificates online?

  • ACMA certificates can be verified online by entering the full Certificate number into the "Official or government use only" box. The user will be able to verify the country of use, the date of issue, the expiration date, and the title of the certificate.

Can I get a list of ACMA members?


Who can issue a Certificate of Free Sale ?

  • FDA Certificates: Because FDA resources are limited, obtaining certificates can take up to three weeks. It is not generally necessary to get an FDA certificate for cosmetics; consult with the commercial attaché at the embassy or consulate for details.
  • Departments of Health Certificates: Free Sale Certificates can be obtained from many state Departments of Health. The certificate will be issued following a company's submission of product information and relevant inspections.
  • Trade Association Certificates: Many foreign countries will accept Free Sale Certificates issued by registered trade associations, such as ACMA. The trade association has letters and documents on file that attest the products are identical to those sold freely in the United States. The Free Sale Certificate is notarized and submitted to the appropriate embassy for processing.
  • Company Certificates: Upon its own letterhead, a company may create a Free Sale Certificate that gives information about every individual product and attests the products are identical to those sold freely in the United States. This document is then notarized and submitted to the appropriate embassy for processing. Many nations will NOT accept a self-generated Free Sale Certificate, but require further endorsement from a government entity or trade association.