November 23, 2018
At recent events industry events one of the biggest topics of discussion, alongside Brexit, has been claims and how the attitude towards claims is changing.
In July the European Commission provided a Technical Guidance Document on Cosmetic Claims. This document is intended to guide companies and Competent Authorities in the application of the Common Claim Criteria laid down in Regulation (EU) No. 655.2013.
Unfortunately, rather than providing much needed clarity on this subjective area the Technical Document has added to the confusion. In part this due to the nature of the document itself. Technical Guidance Documents are not legally-binding and therefore it is impossible to understand how and when National Authorities will choose to interpret/enforce them.
As this document contains several new elements around ‘Free-from’ claims and ‘Hypoallergenic’ claims and states that widely used claims currently such as ‘Free from Parabens’ are not allowed as they contravene the common criteria it is key that brands and manufactures know when enforcement is going to happen.
Currently this decision has been left to the Competent Authorities in each Member State and, has been shown previously when interstation is devolved, this leads to divergence.
While Cosmetics Europe and trade associations such as the UK’s Trade Association the CTPA have strongly recommended companies adhere to the guidance it is clear some Member States are more lax on this than others.
Several countries, including Portugal, Belgium and Denmark will be enforcing the Technical Document recommendations from July 2019 whither others, including the UK and France are adding this to the relevant advertising standards. In contrary to these strict enforcement options several countries will only be looking into claims issues if other issues are found with the product i.e. microbial contamination/labelling problems.
What is clear is that if you wish to sell across the EU then adherence to the new guidance is the best way to go to avoid any problems. This will include the removal of free-from claims.
For any more questions about claims or claim support please contact the MSL Cosmetics Team.