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MeCo7707
26-01-2009, 05:39 PM
Hello!
I recently moved to the UK and my husband suggested I begin selling my soaps to bring in a little extra money, yet be able to stay with my little one and finish getting my M.A. I've been searching the web for days to find a clear cut definition of the laws here but I am still a little confused and I was wondering if you ladies in all of your soap making wisdom could help me. I make what I suppose you would call traditional handmade soap, something I don't think most do - probably because the smell of bubbling fat is not terribly appealing. Haha :)

My first question is tallow. Can I sell soap made from tallow if I make the tallow myself? I'm allergic to so much that when I was 15 my mom taught me how to make homesteaders soap, so I buy the fat, melt it down, let it seperate, cure it, and then melt it down again to make my soap. I saw something breifly that said you couldn't use tallow, but that didn't seem to make sense to me.

Do I have to certify every batch? The butcher only has so much fat at one time. I can only make a 20lb block AT MOST with what he has available to me.

Where can I get my soap certified? That is if I can get it certified.

I don't add perfumes or colors, only herbs and grains (oatmeal, wheat, etc.)...I'm assuming these will still have to be approved correct?

Some have said the soap market is too competitive here, but I was reading on other threads that you just have to make a name for yourself. Which is true for any business, so I was just wondering if traditional soap is a market over here.

goldy1
26-01-2009, 05:44 PM
I wonder if your niche market would be at reenactment fairs? sorry can't help with the legal side soap is not my thing. :D

greannancrafts
26-01-2009, 05:55 PM
Hi MeCo7707

Tallow is still used by a few of the big boys, but not many.
I heard - though stand to be corrected - that tallow is to be banned in the EU soon - as I don't use it I didn't pay too much attention.

Where are you from?

Any soap made to be sold has to be safety assessed - costs between 100 - 200 per formula/recipe. Failure to comply with EU regs can result in hefty fines.

Check out www.justasoap.co.uk or the soapkitchen.co.uk for more information - I've not used them but I know many smaller soapers do.

HTH

Jane

MeCo7707
26-01-2009, 06:05 PM
Well fudge - I wonder why they would ban tallow. I hope that doesn't mean that I won't be able to buy it anymore - even if I don't sell it the real reason I make it is for myself, becauseif I can't make it I can't use soap!

I'm from America and I moved to Suffolk. It's so pretty here, and I have a butcher that doesn't look at me funny when I ask for fat! It was the first time in a decade that a butcher hasn't given me a weird look, he just asked what I was making and when I told him soap he gave me cord fat - which is the best stuff for soap-making. Needless to say I love my butcher now lol.

greannancrafts
26-01-2009, 06:08 PM
Hi
Like I said - I stand to be corrected on tallow being banned - I actually find that public perception of tallow is that they don't like it - or though I understand lamb fat makes a lovely soap.

Jane

ElaineJ
26-01-2009, 06:24 PM
Best person to contact would be Sarah Janes (http://cart.worldofmoulds.co.uk/index.php?p=page&page_id=Cosmetic%20Safety%20Assessments)as she is an agent for soapers wanting to obtain a Safety Assessment (required by law in order to sell soaps). Assessment will need to be obtained quickly as the EU will be "recasting" the Cosmetics Directive during early spring providing it is passed through the European Parliament.

Soap kitchen still have refined tallow on their books but very few soapers who sell handmade soap use it.

I've not seen anything about the banning of tallow in cosmetics but the EU are finalising the enforcement re the ban on cosmetics and ingredients being tested on animals this year sometime (it has been phasing in over the last year or two.

I do doubt whether there would be much of a market for tallow soap in the UK as various oils were being imported from the early Middle Ages onwards with the major soapworks being in the ports.

Soap-making in the household was not as common as it was in the US.

FairyAlchemy
30-01-2009, 09:54 AM
Late answer.... Tallow (dripping uk) = lard = animal fat for ingredients and no problem with the certification...
It makes amazing lathery soap as well... Mind you I do prefer the roast potatoes done with it. and I was brought up with it on bread...lol .

Comforts & Candles
31-01-2009, 01:44 PM
I second Fairy's comments...

Lard is perfectly acceptable for certification purposes - I have it on my own... Can't say I fancy the idea of rendering my own fat personally...:D

Got to be honest, it does make a harder bar with a nice fluffy lather - tis just not quite my cup of tea so I don't make soap containing tallow unless it is by special request...

Elaine's suggestion of contacting Sarah Janes is a really good one... She's apparently a lovely lady to work with for certification purposes and would probably be a good first port of call for someone less experienced with certification than trying to put together a recipe with a diverse range of variable inclusive ingredients...

Would there be a 'big' market for tallow inclusive soaps in the UK? I would doubt it once a customer knows what it is... But for those customers who are happy with tallow as an ingredient, I'd imagine there are few who actually manufacture with it...

Is it included in some highstreet soaps where shoppers just haven't got the foggiest what it is? Yes...:D

HTH x

ElaineJ
31-01-2009, 01:55 PM
I came across Penhaligon's (http://www.penhaligons.co.uk/ishop/1/shopscr105.html) (apparently their soaps are used by royalty - going by the crests) website the other day and they're advertising the fact that they use tallow.

Generally you have to look at the ingredients list to find out.

Comforts & Candles
31-01-2009, 02:37 PM
I came across Penhaligon's (http://www.penhaligons.co.uk/ishop/1/shopscr105.html) (apparently their soaps are used by royalty - going by the crests) website the other day and they're advertising the fact that they use tallow.

Generally you have to look at the ingredients list to find out.

I wish my customers would pay that for soap...:D

A new-ish nurse recently suggested a particular brand of soap for a family member with damaged skin (she didn't know we made our own) which has tallow in it...

I expressed surprise that she'd recommend it given she herself had already mentioned at a previous visit that she was a veggie... She was not a happy bunny and really thought I was talking twaddle initially - but it's plain as day on the label...

ElaineJ
31-01-2009, 03:45 PM
I wish my customers would pay that for soap

Would be nice wouldn't it??

silvermaid
31-01-2009, 04:47 PM
It sounds to me as if you could make a go of this. Everyone says that finding a niche product is the way to go in a competitive market.
I would say find out as much as you can about the properties and benefits of tallow soap and then use that info to market your soap accordingly.
Good luck.

Melanie

MeCo7707
09-02-2009, 03:12 PM
I contacted Sarah Janes and tallow isn't illegal, but evidentally it's terribly difficult to get certified to use it. So I'm going to move forward with castile soap I think - in the meantime my husband is loving the batch of homesteaders soap I just made so at least it will be going to good use!

Comforts & Candles
12-02-2009, 01:18 AM
That's a bit of a shame for you...

Might it be worth you trying a batch using Lard? It's a white animal fat used here regularly in cooking and available in any supermarket? I've not tried home rendered fat but I have used Lard and it does bring a noticeable difference to the recipe...

You would be able to obtain an MSDS from the original supplier... When I needed one for Trex* to include it on my assessment I found the parent company Edible Oils Ltd very helpful and they emailed me one over straight away...

All I did was contact Trex and explained and they pointed me to Edible Oils... Whoever is listed on the Lard packaging should be able to do the same thing...

*a solid vegetable oil available in the supermarket... For those "oh heck I've forgotten to place my order and am itching to make some soap" days...;)

Iulia
20-02-2009, 05:04 PM
I'm really puzzled why it is hard to get assessed using tallow, when it is available in every supermarket?

Is it actually tallow per se that is the problem, or the fact you render it yourself?

What are the EU gonna object to next??!?!

greannancrafts
20-02-2009, 05:08 PM
Hi

I think (?) it has something to do with foot & mouth?????

I have not been able to find out more - yet.

Jane

ElaineJ
20-02-2009, 05:18 PM
Which supermarkets sell 100% tallow?

My local butcher gives me beef fat (suet) to render down for dripping to cook with and he says he hasn't seen much tallow fat coming back from the abattoir for some time.

A lot goes for making bio-diesel and some for fuel in industrial boilers whilst hard white tallow is still used as a lubricant by plumbers etc. (I don't know whether toolshop tallow has anything added or whether it's OK for soap).

greannancrafts
20-02-2009, 05:21 PM
Hi

I notice that J&J use tallow in their baby soap.

Imagine washing baby in lard ugh:(

Jane

Iulia
20-02-2009, 05:36 PM
Well a LOT of commercial soap makers use tallow have a look at the labels when you next go in the chemist or supermarket.

Which makes it even stranger that it is a problem.

I buy mine in Waitrose in blocks of 500g, it is kept beside the butter. I'm pretty sure it is 100% tallow but I don't have a label to hand. I will have a look when I next go in.

I've certainly bought it in other places, but off the top of my head I couldn't say where. I think Asda, Makro and possibly Tesco, but I would need to check.

ElaineJ
20-02-2009, 06:12 PM
I've seen plenty of dripping to be had - but from the way the butcher was talking I gathered that there is a difference between dripping and tallow.

greannancrafts
20-02-2009, 06:21 PM
Well a LOT of commercial soap makers use tallow have a look at the labels when you next go in the chemist or supermarket.


All I ever do is read labels on soap:):):)

Even the big boys can get labelling wrong:)

Interestingly, a few months ago I met a man who used to be a senior chemist
at a very very very large company who spe******e in baby toiletries - we were talking about their products, he said "there is no way I would let my grandchildren be washed in the stuff" I asked him to put that in writing, his reply " No way - I get a very good pension from them!"

Can't say I blame him:(
Jane

ElaineJ
20-02-2009, 06:53 PM
It's that c i a l i s edit kicking in again!

Iulia
20-02-2009, 06:58 PM
I've seen plenty of dripping to be had - but from the way the butcher was talking I gathered that there is a difference between dripping and tallow.

oh

I was told they were the same, but I'm not a butcher.

even more confused ....

greannancrafts
20-02-2009, 06:59 PM
It's that c i a l i s edit kicking in again!

Oh ElaineJ, remember the days when we were all gay? :)

greannancrafts
20-02-2009, 07:33 PM
Oh ElaineJ, remember the days when we were all gay? :)

Sorry everyone, I meant remember the days when being gay meant being happy, when s o c i a l i s i n g meant chatting with friends :)

Jane

ElaineJ
21-02-2009, 12:19 AM
Yes Jane (was listening to Radio Lancs folk programme earlier and there were "The Saggy Bottom Gilrls" singing "We are the Baby Boomers" - to tune of D-Day Dodgers/Lili Marlene)

Back to the tallow question - I seem to remember reading something about it being ultra-refined compared with dripping; I've emailed an internet friend who is a mediaeval style chandler for re-enactors to ask her.

Am now off to look for Sally Pointer's website to see what she has to say.

AnnieAnna
21-02-2009, 10:41 AM
Now listen up you littl'uns. You are here because your ancesters were survivors. And what did they wash with? Soap made from tallow and lye.
So let's ditch this urgh stuff, you namby pamby lot!

Waste not want not. Learn from the past. Grow a soft cuddly cow. Use her milk for butter and cheese. When she dies put her insides in a pie, wear her outsides as shoes and a handbag ...after rendring down her fatty bits (boil with water - when cooled, pure snowy white tallow floats to the top and gungy unmenionable browny bits sink to the bottom). Pour water on the ashes left from your wood fire. After a couple of days the liquid is lye. Boil up the tallow and lye until it thickens. Pour into a shallow dish. Cut into blocks of soap.

Tallow soap is very like Dove soap in look and feel.

You shouldn't have problems getting tallow certified -Sally Pointer is your girl -she has trained up a chemist to cope with weird requests (like reconstructing Roman cosmetics etc) www.sallypointer.com (http://www.sallypointer.com) or pm me as I have the chemist's details somewhere, but there are problems if using lye.
Lye is unpredictable and a lovely soap maker refused to let me have the stuff I had ordered as she felt the batch was 'wrong'. It had bubbles in it which can be spots of pure lye that would take your skin off.

Back to the original question. It's the ingredients that get certified not the batch of soap, but the batch is numbered so if there is a problem that batch can be identified and recalled.

And there are problems using animal ingredients in today's England. I was enthousiastic about a skin cream made from snail slime - it sounds better in Spanish: Crema de Caracol - and South Amricans have no such problems but in England the yuk factor was very high and put people off (apart from the people who tried it and came back for more).

Back to tallow. The fat in different animals - cow, sheep, pig - has different qualities. I made candles from tallow and they came out quite soft and greasy. I know they were kept to 'dry out' before using, but I suspect the tallow I bought was meant for soap and not the harder stuff I reckon was used for candles.

And yes there is a market for historical soaps but don't expect to be a millionaire. Historical reenactors are a canny lot and always on the look out for a bargain and are apt to mutter, when spotting anything expensive, "I could make that for nought".

(For the mods - I haven't been putting my websites as a signature because I only make 60% of what I sell but I think in this case people ought to know where I'm coming from so here goes - the historical stuff comes from being www.anniethepedlar.com (http://www.anniethepedlar.com) and my brush with cosmetics came from www.littlechile.co.uk (http://www.littlechile.co.uk))

AnnieAnna

Iulia
21-02-2009, 03:45 PM
well, I would love to use both tallow and lard in my soap I do and don't have any icky feelings. Personally if I eat the animal and I do I would rather use the whole beast, including the fat, rather than throwing some if it away.

But I digress!
:D

The person handling my safely assessments has just told me I will find it very difficult to get assessed using either beef tallow or lard.

:confused:

I feel I have entered into the twilight zone. How has it come about that the rules are so weird that I can walk into a shop, buy a bar of lard, make a pie and feed my family, but I can't put it in the bar of soap???

If anyone has a chemist how will include lard esp in the certificate I would be so so grateful for the details.

Cheers

Peter
21-02-2009, 04:41 PM
Try buying a bottle of methylated spirits from a chemist without having a shave first! :)

AnnieAnna
21-02-2009, 05:16 PM
Iulia - I've PMed you the nice chemist's address.
AnnieAnna

AnnieAnna
21-02-2009, 05:19 PM
Oooo forgot to say if you contact the nice chemist mention Sally Pointer's name to put him in the right frame of mind......ie "Oh no, they are going to ask me something weird......."
Annie Anna

ElaineJ
21-02-2009, 11:08 PM
This is the reply which I had from the chandler (who has made soap in the past):

The tallow candles I make are made from sheep fat - but not just sheep
dripping. You'll know that round the kidneys of larger animals there is a
very hard fat which protects the organs. This is what's used for suet. It's
also what I use for the tallow candles. Any fat which kept its shape would
work but that sheep suet has a higher melting point than any other kind so
it won't go soft in ordinary house temperatures - making it less greasy to
handle. But I render the 'suet' first, it's amazing how much connective
tissue there is in it. It also means that it doesn't smell much and it won't
go rancid as quickly as unrendered fat.

That fat would work well for soap, being white, virtually odour-free and the
product would be less likely to dissolve away in water than it would if you
used a softer fat.

This would account for the butcher saying that he hadn't seen tallow coming back from the abattoir for some years - the beef suet would be removed before the carcase was sent to the butcher.

Another butcher in town who is a licensed slaughterman but now has to send his animals to an abattoir since the Regs. changed a few years back says he hardly ever has kidneys returned from the abattoir let alone suet.

The "suet" noodles which are available in packets actually contain cornflour in addition to the suet.

Iulia
23-02-2009, 09:20 AM
well, just to add insult to injury, my current and probably soon to be ex-safety assessor has just told me the only 'animal' fat allowed in their assessment

is

drum roll .....

EMU!!!

that would be, I guess, because the UK is overrun with emus. Hard to drive down the road without hitting one sometimes.

i mean WHY?

Madly Creating
23-02-2009, 09:41 AM
Rather off the topic, but I was under the impression that Emus didn't have a lot of fat (hence extremely healthy meat) AND it's not a common meat to find in the supermarkets anyway...

Incidentally I would buy tallow soap if I could lay my hands on it.... but I'm a bit odd ;)

greannancrafts
23-02-2009, 10:03 AM
J&J baby soap has tallow in it:)
hth

Jane

ElaineJ
23-02-2009, 12:51 PM
well, just to add insult to injury, my current and probably soon to be ex-safety assessor has just told me the only 'animal' fat allowed in their assessment

is

drum roll .....

EMU!!!

that would be, I guess, because the UK is overrun with emus. Hard to drive down the road without hitting one sometimes.

i mean WHY?

I've just spoken to my assessor re use of tallow and he says there are specific regulations with regard to animal fats in soapmaking.

For short process it must be proved that the fat has been taken up to 200C and for continuous process (as in big commercial companies) the required temp is lower but must be held over a period of time. These regulations stemmed from the BSE outbreak a few years ago.

Consequently he does not approve the use of such as tallow in an SA for home soapers. He did point out the anomaly that it is perfectly legal to buy raw hard suet from a butcher!

MeCo7707
23-02-2009, 02:45 PM
Well I decided to get an assesment for soap without tallow. My husband loves the tallow soap so much I may continue to make it for him - it clears up his oily skin from work so nicely. I made castille soap - but evidentally you can't sell that either - and someone told me it was extremely difficult to make but my batch turned out lovely as far as I can tell - it's only been millled and not barred yet but I used some of the shavings to wash with and it seems fine so I'm not sure what would be hard about it.

My mother speculated that perhaps the use of tallow was because a fear of mad cow? I dunno...I don't plan on eating my soap...maybe other people do. haha

Also - why do people poo poo tallow soap? It is so lovely, and some of the best soap is made with animal fat. It seems strange to me, it's almost like when some city boys came to the farm and RAVED about dinner until they found out the chicken was from our farm - then they suddenly became ill. Also alot of "oils" are simply rendered fats as well - such as lanolin. Like previously stated soap with tallow has been done for ages.

Thanks for all your help ladies - I'm so excited to get my certification!

ElaineJ
23-02-2009, 03:56 PM
I made castille soap - but evidentally you can't sell that either - and someone told me it was extremely difficult to make but my batch turned out lovely as far as I can tell - it's only been millled and not barred yet but I used some of the shavings to wash with and it seems fine so I'm not sure what would be hard about it.

By Castille do you mean 100% olive oil? I'm not aware of any restrictions on that.

I've seen Aleppo soap discussed on a UK soap forum and people were saying that Laurel Oil is not allowed - however my assessor mentioned Aleppo soap (we were discussing ancient soap recipes for demo and sample purposes) and he said Laurel Oil is allowed - must look into suppliers.

Iulia
23-02-2009, 04:04 PM
I've just spoken to my assessor re use of tallow and he says there are specific regulations with regard to animal fats in soapmaking.

For short process it must be proved that the fat has been taken up to 200C and for continuous process (as in big commercial companies) the required temp is lower but must be held over a period of time. These regulations stemmed from the BSE outbreak a few years ago.

Consequently he does not approve the use of such as tallow in an SA for home soapers. He did point out the anomaly that it is perfectly legal to buy raw hard suet from a butcher!


Thank you very much for that explanation. It is indeed a weird anomaly that the stuff is considered safe to eat but not to soap with ... I mean there is no guarantee the temperature people are cooking with. You could buy dripping in the supermarket and put it on toast. :sm:

I wonder why there are restrictions for non-beef stuff though. My assessor would tackle emu but not goose, for instance?

MeCo7707
24-02-2009, 07:34 AM
I thought you had to use both olive oil and coconut oil in soap here? Did I misunderstand and it has to be one or the other? Because yes it is just 100% olive oil.

Iulia
24-02-2009, 08:43 AM
I thought you had to use both olive oil and coconut oil in soap here? Did I misunderstand and it has to be one or the other? Because yes it is just 100% olive oil.

oh, was that on your safety assessment, that all the soap had to contain olive and coconut? I don't think that is a legal requirement to sell here, it is just the standard procedure of that particular assessor.

I think you can add other oils also, or you can try mostly olive with the minimum coconut the assessment suggests, that would be a nice bar I think. The coconut would add a bit of bubble.

ElaineJ
24-02-2009, 10:08 AM
Yes - it does depend on how you list your ingredients for assessment and how your assessor regards the process.

I have a list of base oils (one or more to be used in the soap) and a list of optional superfatting oils.

MeCo7707
24-02-2009, 11:34 AM
Ahh - I see. My assesment does included both olive oil and coconut oil to be in each soap and then a bunch of different additions can be made. I originally made the castille soap for my 6 month old anyway - she doesn't wear nappies except for at night and she gets diaper rash, the soap clears it all up. Poor thing she has such sensitive skin.