EU cosmetic claim substantiation could be a time-bomb – expert

By Simon Pitman contact

- Last updated on GMT

EU cosmetic claim substantiation could be a time-bomb – expert

Related tags: European union

Following the adoption of the EU Cosmetics Directive last summer, one expert believes that companies are now going to have to be extra vigilant about product claims. This is the first of a two-part article.

The regulation, introduced in July 2013 and now fully in force, states a ‘common criteria’ for cosmetic claims in the European Union.

However, according to a recent presentation given by Dr. Karl Lintner, a consultant specialising in cosmetic claims, who was speaking at the NYSCC Science Symposium in New York City last month, this common criteria looks rather less cohesive when placed under the microscope.

Dr. Lintner states that, put simply, different stakeholders are going to have different interpretations of these criteria.

Two key paragraphs give all the clues

The new Cosmetic Product Regulation (CPR) (no. 655/2013) is defined by two key paragraphs contained in paragraph 20 and forms a key part of the Directive:

“In the labelling, making available on the market and advertising of cosmetic products, text, names, trademarks, pictures and figurative or other signs shall not be used to imply that these products have characteristics or functions which they do not have.

“The Commission shall, in co-operation with Member States, establish and action plan regarding claims used and fix priorities for determining common criteria justifying the use of a claim.”

Until now the regulation of EU cosmetic claims has not really existed

According to Dr. Lintner, this stipulation is the first since the Directive was first introduced in 1976, creating a precedent on EU cosmetic product claims.

Previously organisations such as the BVP (now ARRP) in France and the ASA in the UK have attempted to step in to fill the gap on cosmetic claims regulations, but, although their lobbying power is significant, such efforts have lacked clear authority as they are not government regulations.

The CPR is a 12 page document divided into 6 items covering legal compliance, truthfulness, evidential support, honesty, fairness and informed decision making – with each item being discussed in some detail.

Attempt to regulate claims is 'a joke'

“This document is almost a joke, given the extremely general wording of the criteria,”​ said Dr. Lintner, during the presentation.

“In fact, this is roughly the situation of today: there is no EU wide standard or agreement on what constitutes an admissible cosmetic claim; different stake holder made widely different attempts at interpreting the old requirement of ‘proof for the effect claimed’: and thus we see sometimes forced withdrawals of advertisements, withdrawals that are loudly displayed in the media.”

The second part of this article will look at some of the potential problems that Dr. Lintner predicts will arise from the regulation, and gives some pointers as to how the industry can get round them. The second article will be published tomorrow.

Related topics: Regulation & Safety

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