Regulatory ingredient risk management: does the EU system need improving?

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

Regulatory ingredient risk management: does the EU system need improving?
Ingredient regulation can be a thorny issue for the beauty and personal care industry, with some critics suggesting regulators don’t go far enough, while others think there is a lack of sufficient evidence in some decisions.

It was a focus of the recent Cosmetics Europe Annual Conference (CEAC) industry knowledge-sharing event, and one dedicated panel discussion looked to consider how we manage ingredients, and how to speed up the processes involved.

Speakers at the session were:

  • Karin Gromann, Head of Department Food Safety and Consumer Protection, Ministry for Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection, Austria
  • Petra Leroy Čadová, Policy Officer, DG GROW, European Commission

Session highlights

Here are the key session highlights from the event, as compiled by CEAC organisers:

The session was aimed at taking a deeper look in the way that the EU addresses and manages ingredient regulation.

Speakers discussed the historic policy environment and discussions in 1976 that led to the current mixed approach in which some classes of ingredients are used under the responsibility of the company, whereas others have a harmonised EU wide restriction or require premarket authorisation.

They also considered the administrative processes and steps that underlie the EU risk management of cosmetic ingredients.

Finally, the position of member states competent authorities and the public pressures they find themselves under were explained, in case the regulation of an ingredient is perceived as moving too slow.

In the following discussion among panellists and with the audience, the following questions were addressed:

  • Is the ‘mixed model’ still the best way to manage ingredients? Should we abandon all positive negative lists? Should we have a comprehensive positive or negative list approach for all ingredients?

There was an overwhelming position in keeping the current approach.

  • Is there a need to improve the Risk Assessment & Management process (transparency, efficiency, speed, roles and responsibilities, decision making pawer, …) to ensure trust of stakeholders at both, local and EU level?

The discussion confirmed that several stakeholders find the process too slow. This is also due to the fact that stakeholders may not be aware of the administrative steps that are imposed by the EU legislation.

More transparency on the process and progress of individual ingredient legislations could increase public trust in the system.

  • Are the principles of precaution and proportionality adequately implemented in the EU risk management of ingredients?

There was not enough time to go deeply into this topic. Participants felt, it could be the theme of a separate breakout session at a future event.

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