Two sunscreens have been withdrawn from sale following a Consumer NZ test that found the products failed to provide the protection claimed.

Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin said the manufacturer of Snowberry Family+ Sunscreen SPF30 has recalled the product after her organisation’s test found it had an SPF of only 20 and failed to meet requirements for broad-spectrum protection.

The maker of Pure Blend Sunscreen SPF15++, marketed as a natural product, will also stop selling its sunscreen. Ms Chetwin said testing found the product had an SPF of just 4.

Another natural product, Pure South 100% Natural Sunscreen, also provided low sun protection. While the product doesn’t claim an SPF rating, it lists the SPF range of raspberry oil, an ingredient in the cream, as 28 to 50. However, Consumer NZ’s test found the sunscreen had an SPF of 5.

Ms Chetwin said Pure South has agreed to stop calling this product a sunscreen and remove the reference to raspberry oil’s SPF, which it could not substantiate.

SPF measures the protection a sunscreen provides against sun damage. The joint Australian New Zealand standard for sunscreens requires SPF to be assessed by applying the sunscreen to 10 volunteers. Neither the Snowberry nor Pure Blend products had been tested on people.

Ms Chetwin said products could be sold in New Zealand without being tested because the sunscreen standard was voluntary.

“While companies are encouraged to comply with the Australian New Zealand standard, it’s clear some don’t. Making the standard mandatory would help ensure consumers aren’t misled about the protection a sunscreen provides,” she said.

Consumer NZ is testing other sunscreens. Full test results will be published in the December-January Consumer magazine and on consumer.org.nz.

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