The updated technical document on cosmetic claims limits the use of “free of” claims
On 3rd of July 2017 the sub-working group on claims released the updated Technical document on cosmetic claims. The document serves as a collection of best practices and aims at providing guidance for the application of Commission Regulation (EU) No 655/2013 laying down common criteria for the justification of claims used in relation to cosmetic products. As of 1st of July 2019 the guidance related to “free from” and hypoallergenic claims should become applicable to all Member States.
General rule about claims
For any claim to be allowed, the wording of the claim in relation to the cosmetic product shall be compliant with the common criteria set out in the Annex to Commission Regulation (EU) No 655/2013.
The criteria are as follows:
- Legal compliance – Claims showing a specific benefit when this benefit is mere compliance with minimum legal requirements should not be allowed;
- Truthfulness – no false or irrelevant information is allowed;
- Evidential support – all claims should be supported with evidence;
- Honesty – the presentation of the product’s performance should not go beyond the evidence;
- Fairness – claims should be objective and should not denigrate the competitors or legally used ingredients;
- Informed decision-making – claims should be clear and understandable and should allow the user to make an informed choice.
“Free from” claims – are they allowed?
The “free from” claims are discussed in Annex III and need to be analyzed against the above-mentioned criteria. “Free from” claims need to allow an informed choice to a specific target group or groups of end users, for example “free from alcohol” in a mouthwash intended as a family product. Furthermore, the absence of the mentioned ingredients should be demonstrated by adequate and verifiable evidence. It is important that “free from parabens” is explicitly mentioned as prohibited.
The examples provided by the technical document show the difficulty of meeting the criteria. Obelis therefore strongly recommends manufacturers to focus on the positive aspects of their products, e.g “enriched with …”, “contains …”.
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