Fake cosmetics flood the market
A local cosmetics distributor, Black Opal Zimbabwe, has expressed concern over the rise of counterfeit products imitating some of its brands.The company, an official distributor of the US-originated brand, Black Opal Cosmetics said research had proved that counterfeits were dangerous to users.Counterfeits are popular among Zimbabwe’s poor because they are cheap.“Fake make-up is unregulated and leading researches on seized products established that these beauty products contain dangerous compounds such as lead and cadmium,” said Black Opal Zimbabwe director of marketing, Tatenda Mutseyekwa. “Although original products may have traces of these elements, these will be in tiny and proven-to-be-safe concentrations, unlike in counterfeit products.”Mutseyekwa said researches had established that long-term exposure to cadmium could result in impaired kidney function while lead could affect the central nervous system.“No one is testing them for safety and no one cares if the ingredients are fit for use,” he said.Products being traded as Black Opal have flooded the country over the past decade. Unscrupulous dealers are taking advantage of their high demand and selling counterfeit products in their shops and flea markets.“We are just saying, don’t label your cheap and dangerous products ‘Black Opal’ or the common misspelled ‘Black Opel’. That’s trademark infringement and piracy,” he said.Mutseyekwa said as the holders of the trademark and distributorship in the country, Black Opal Zimbabwe were in the process of rolling out a programme to address the issue of counterfeit products.“We are also working with various stakeholders including but not limited to police, the Revenue authority and the Health ministry to tackle the issue of fakes,” he said.According to Interpol, syndicates that manufacture fake cosmetics used the proceeds to fund terrorism, among other organised criminal activities.