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Exclusive interview

European and US regulations – a world apart. For now…

By Andrew McDougall , 24-May-2012
Last updated on 24-May-2012 at 12:26 GMT

European and US regulations – a world apart. For now…

Different cultures, various definitions and a global market make it difficult for regulation of cosmetic products in Europe and the US to properly align, but strides are being taken in order to sufficiently protect consumers around the world.

In an exclusive interview with Cosmetics Design, Cosmetics Europe president Fabio Franchina and director general Bertil Heerink stated that it is difficult to achieve universal regulation and that there are key differences between the US and Europe.

“All consumers around the world have the right to be adequately protected. And it is easy to say that we all have one definition for certain criteria, but we are a global industry,” said Heerink.

“The cultures are also different. Whereas the tradition in Europe is to regulate a fast moving consumer goods industry like ours, it is not the same elsewhere.”

Different culture, different protocol

Heerink explained that in Europe there is quite a broad definition of cosmetics, whereas in the US there are various different categories that you must look through.

However, there have been certain investigations undertaken globally to ensure that consumers are getting safe products around the world, which Heerink states is a big step moving forward.

“This is because the science always stays the same. The regulatory translation of the science is a different matter,” he added.

Speaking of the differences between the two regions, Heerink said that the end point of scientific investigation in Europe is regulation; a concept that Europe is used to.

US regulation playing catch up

Whilst generalising slightly, the trade association director claimed that this is not always the case in the US, and that sometimes regulatory translations take a longer time to pursue.

This is a view that is echoed by the Cosmetics Europe president, Franchina, who claims that products are regulated a lot quicker in Europe.

“The regulation we have here in Europe is much higher than what we have in the US. Sometimes people talk too much about the potential risks of ingredients or products that do not actually have a practical application in real life, and this can stall regulation,” he said.

“The level of control, research, and safety of cosmetics products is much higher in Europe than in any other part of the world. Often the European system is used as the benchmark for other systems around the world,” Franchina added.

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