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Chansawang Herbal Lines Cosmetics firm threatens to sue

Chansawang Herbal Lines, a local cosmetics company, has threatened to file a defamation suit against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for suggesting that its products contain hazardous substances. FDA secretary-general Pakdee Pothisiri last week warned consumers that substandard cosmetics containing banned chemicals were being sold in the Thai market and vowed to crack down on cosmetics companies which exaggerated the quality of their products in advertisements.

The warning came after the FDA received complaints from consumers about the side-effects that some cosmetic products had caused, particularly locally made whitening creams.

At a press conference, the FDA chief displayed some cosmetics as examples of ''blacklisted'' products which consumers should watch out for.

Among them were the Chansawang beauty products.

Chantorn Chansawang, the company's owner, said the FDA press conference had severely damaged the company's reputation because it had misled the public into believing that Chansawang products were on the FDA blacklist and were unsafe to use.

She said the FDA's irresponsible behaviour had already cost the company more than 10 million baht in losses as clients were now too scared to use the company's products.

About 300 beauty centres exclusively using Chansawang products have also suffered a huge losses, she said.

Ms Chantorn said that all her products had passed safety tests as required by law.

Ekachai Tapananond, the company's lawyer, demanded the FDA issue an apology and correct public misperceptions about Chansawang beauty products by publishing a statement about the products' safety in daily newspapers for three consecutive days.

''If the FDA fails to come up with any remedial action within seven days, we will bring the case to the court's attention,'' he said.

FDA deputy secretary-general Weerawan Taengkaew, meanwhile, argued that the company could not take legal action against the FDA because the agency had never made any reference to the Chansawang products in its accusation.

She said although the FDA displayed the Chansawang products during last week's press conference, the FDA chief did not say the products were substandard.

''The agency is trying to safeguard consumers from dangerous cosmetic products and protect them from being fooled by exaggerated advertisements,'' she said, adding that officials had no intention of damaging the reputation of any particular manufacturer.

However, the FDA has sent samples of Chansawang products for lab tests at the Department of Medical Sciences to determine if they are safe for public use, she said.