Johnson & Johnson has committed to only sell sunscreen that complies with New Zealand and Australian standards after Commerce Commission testing cast down the sun protection factor (SPF) rating of two Neutrogena products.

The regulator opened an investigation after a Consumer New Zealand complaint that alleged Johnson & Johnson's Neutrogena Sensitive Skin SPF60+ had SPF protection that was significantly less than its label claimed.

Johnson & Johnson, the commission said today, tested against the American Federal Drug Administration (FDA) standard, and had obtained an SPF rating of 60+.

But the commission's own tests of that product and another in the same brand line showed significantly "showed significantly lower SPF performance than that represented" by Johnson & Johnson. The company stopped selling those products in September 2016.


"The variability of testing methods and the results produced by the two methods meant that the commission investigation was not conclusive as to the actual SPF ratings of the products," the commission said today.

To resolve the situation, the commission said Johnson & Johnson has signed court enforceable undertakings ensuring that all its products will meet the New Zealand and Australian standard.

A spokesperson for Johnson & Johnson said in a statement:

"Neutrogena sunscreens have SPFs that provide important sun protection for children and adults in New Zealand. Our priority is to deliver safe, effective, high-quality products to our consumers and we take this responsibility seriously. Neutrogena sunscreen products sold in New Zealand have always been independently tested to an internationally recognised standard to validate their SPF and we are confident in all labelling claims."

"Johnson & Johnson New Zealand is committed to ensuring sunscreen products sold in New Zealand are tested in accordance with the AS/NZ Sunscreen Standard, and we believe that comes with multiple benefits," the company spokesperson said