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The Cosmetics Directive 76/768/EEC was published on July 27, 1976. It allows cosmetic products in the European Economic Area to circulate freely and ensures their safety for use. A cosmetic product is any substance intended to make contact with external parts of the human body, or inside the mouth, with the intention of cleaning or perfuming them, changing their appearance, correcting odors, protecting them or maintaining their good condition. These products must not be harmful to health when used under normal conditions.
The Cosmetics Directive sets out certain standards cosmetic products must meet before they can be placed in the European Economic Area, such as substances that cannot be included in the formula of the products, requirements for labeling and packaging, rules for market surveillance and notification to the competent authority of each member state and laws relating to animal testing. Since it was introduced, the Cosmetics Directive has been amended by the European Parliament and the European Council 55 times in order to keep up with the changing market for cosmetics.
Other EU directives and regulations which may apply to cosmetic products are the 94/62/EC Packaging and Labelling Directive, the (EC) REACH 1907/2006 Directive, permitted and restricted ingredients, cosmetic guidance documents and European Court of Justice rulings. The Cosmetics Directive is applicable in all of the 27 EU Member States, as well as EFTA/EEA countries.
The Cosmetics Directive 76/768/EEC is outlined below:
Ingredients – Under Annex II, certain substances are listed that cannot be used in the composition of a cosmetic product, and Annex III states a list of substances that cosmetic products can only contain under certain restrictions.
Labelling – Packaging and containers must show:
This information must be in the official language or languages of the EU Member State.
Market surveillance – Product safety information must be kept available to the monitoring competent authorities. Member States must also ensure that the products comply with the directive, and that cosmetic products do not claim to have characteristics that they do not actually hold.
Notification to Competent Authority – The manufacturer, or whoever is responsible for placing the cosmetic product on the EU market, must notify the authority of the Member State of the place where the product is manufactured, or the place where it was first imported into the EU, before the product can be placed in the EEA.
Animal Testing – The Directive puts a ban on testing finished cosmetic products on animals, and bans marketing products that have been tested on animals. The ban on testing ingredients of cosmetic products on animals will apply progressively, as will the ban on marketing of these ingredients.
Last updated May 06, 2009
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