‘Free from’ claims - clarification of application
The sub-working group on claims released the updated Technical document on cosmetic claims in July 2017. 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.
While the requirements have been enlisted in a clear and precise manner, the moment of application of the provisions regarding the ‘free from’ claims has raised some unclarities. These have been pointed out by the Danish authorities, who have asked for clarifications on whether starting July 1st 2019 there should be no more products with ‘free from’ claims on the market.
In response to this, the European Commission has reiterated the fact that the Technical Document is not legally binding. Precisely, the document aims at advising the cosmetics industry to follow the guidance therein, which can also be regarded as a reference for national competent authorities and can be used by national control authorities in their market surveillance activities.
The sub-working group on claims agreed that new elements in the guidance included in Annexes III and IV will be applicable as of 1 July 2019. The transition period was necessary in order to allow companies to adapt their products’ claims to the new elements of the guidance.
Consequently, the new elements contained in the Technical Document shall apply to products placed on the market as of 1 July 2019, whilst products already on the market should be allowed to be sold off only if there is no safety issue involved. If needed, competent authorities can act regarding inappropriate use of claims under Regulation 1223/2009 or Regulation 655/2013.
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