A supermarket has banned sales of “scent” ads for “menstrual products” and “cotton” in the US.
Key points:A supermarket in Australia is banning the sale of products that claim to smell like women, such as perfumes, shaving soap and toiletriesA company has responded to the decision by claiming that “the Australian market is not saturated with women-specific products”The ban comes after a petition asking the government to review its stance on perfume sales garnered more than 100,000 signatures in just a week.
“We are taking this opportunity to reassure Australian consumers that Australian retailers are not in a situation where the Australian market for these products is saturated with the fragrance market,” the supermarket chain said in a statement on Thursday.
“Australian retailers are currently experiencing a significant reduction in the demand for these cosmetics due to a lack of supply of the products in Australian supermarkets.”
The announcement comes after the Australian Federal Government announced in July that it would review the rules around the use of perfumes and cosmetics to combat the rise of the Zika virus, which has affected an estimated 20 million people.
The Australian Federal Environment Department said in August that the ban on “sensual” products and cosmetics was in response to a petition by a businesswoman who claimed the products smell of women and suggested they should be banned.
“While we do not have a specific mandate to ban the sale or distribution of these products, the government has taken the opportunity to take a thoughtful and pragmatic approach to this important issue,” it said in the statement.
“Our review will be conducted in a manner that respects the rights of individuals to make decisions about their personal safety and well-being.”
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said in March that it had begun to review “sensational” perfume products, such of “candy or sugar-free” products, to see whether they violated the Competition and Marketing Act.
“It is clear that Australian consumers want to be reassured that their personal health and safety is not at risk by the sale and marketing of these fragrances,” the ACCC said in its report on March 13.
“The ACCC is continuing to explore all the options available to it to ensure consumers are protected from harmful products.”
A spokesperson for the Australian Retailers Association said that the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) had done a good job of looking at the matter.
“In our view, the Australian marketplace is not currently saturated with products containing perfumes or cosmetics that are associated with women,” the spokesperson said.
“However, the ACCC continues to work with industry and government to improve the regulation and enforcement of the Fair Trading Act, which will ensure that we are not left behind when it comes to the consumer protections we require of businesses.”
As we work to ensure the consumer has confidence that products they purchase are safe and not harmful, we will continue to look for ways to strengthen the protection of our consumers and ensure they have a secure and fair trading environment.