How claims legislation impacts ingredients suppliers

Published: 30-Mar-2016

The EU Cosmetics Claims legislation raises issues with regard to interpretation

This year at the Cosmetics Business Regulatory Summit, Dr Theresa Callaghan from Callaghan Consulting International, Germany, will discuss what manufacturers should be aware of in terms of expectations from their ingredient suppliers, what needs to established when sourcing and what to consider when substantiating a claim. Below Callaghan outlines the presentation in brief...

The EU Cosmetics Claims legislation has been in force for three years with varying degrees of compliance across brands and companies selling into the EU. Discussions have highlighted issues with regard to interpretation, risk and the confusion about what is required in order to meet compliance — with many brands, especially smaller ones, still 'winging-it' on their way to market.

The criteria of the legislation cannot be viewed in isolation — they are inextricably linked. Claims cannot be considered legal unless they are truthful. Truthfulness requires evidence. Evidence is also linked to honesty. Honesty requires fairness, which itself leads to informed decision making and ultimately a satisfied consumer.

In a nutshell, the legislation states that: “In labelling, making available on the market and advertising of cosmetic products, text, names, trade marks, pictures and figurative or other signs shall not be used to imply that these products have characteristics or functions which they do not have. It shall apply to any claim, irrespective of the medium or type of marketing tool used, the product functions claimed and the target audience.” In brief, it means it's best to tell the truth.

Many of today's consumers are extremely results-driven in terms of product performance. The phrase 'the proof isn't in the pudding, it's in the eating' is more relevant than ever with beauty consumers. Consumers express high levels of interest in claims and product benefits. Furthermore they seek and require products with immediate and long lasting effects, yet with straightforward functional benefits.

While this legislation is directed at the finished product being sold to the consumer, the industry is slowly learning that it clearly impacts all disciplines not least the supplier of cosmetic ingredients.

Of all the ingredient suppliers, it is the active ingredient suppliers that this legislation impacts the most. Many still operate under the illusion that responsibility for the claim lies wholly with their customers. While on one hand they are correct, on the other they have a responsibility to ensure that the information they provide their customers is not only legal but also correct, truthful, honest (integrity with credibility) and fair. In addition while ingredient suppliers promote ethical sourcing and sustainability they need also to apply the same principles and integrity to the evidence they generate for the performance of these ingredients — good science, valid coherent studies and cosmetic relevance, without drug-like claims.

When collaborating with ingredient suppliers, brands need to be aware that in the absence of product testing, they may not extrapolate testing results of a particular product ingredient contained in their products to substantiate performance claims when it contains other ingredients that could impact upon product performance. Furthermore the Code of Advertising Practice states: “Merely presenting ingredient-specific data might be considered inadequate." The Regulation (EU) No 655/2013 states that if a claim is made saying a product ‘contains moisturising aloe vera’ or prominently pictures aloe vera, these claims should not be made if it has no moisturising effect. This means the efficacy of a cosmetic formulation is a product of the interplay between active ingredients and the rest of the formulation.

The presentation will expand on these points further and will encourage a dialogue between the ingredient supplier and customer based on three golden rules: what the product says it does, what the product actually does and why the product does what it does. We will also discuss the key questions that need to be put to the ingredient suppliers in terms of these rules in order that the customer can then reach full compliance when it comes to testing their final product performance and the weight of evidence verifying the developed claims.

Find out more on regulatory updates and claims at the 2016 Cosmetics Business Regulatory Summit.

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