The objective of the proposal is to recast the existing EU legislation on cosmetic products with the view to simplify it; following the 55 amendments the original Directive has undergone since its publication. With the same objective of simplification, it tries to define a common set of definitions and obligations both for manufacturers and importers.
The French Presidency recently put forward a proposal aiming to introduce specific provisions with regard to distributors. According to these proposals they will request them:
to verify, before making a product available on the market, that certain labelling requirements are complied with
to take appropriate measures in case of non compliance
GRTU has this week sent its official position to the consulting entity, the Malta Standards Authority.
GRTU feels that in so far as most of the information that will be required to appear on the label falls under the control and responsibility of the manufacturers, it would be abusive, not to say impossible to ask distributors to verify more than the fact that the label is worded in a language easily understandable by the end-users and that the date of minimum durability has not expired. It would be unbearable (not to say impossible) for companies and more particularly SMEs to verify whether the other types of information are present and accurate. Namely, the new provision imposes on distributors to verify that the following labelling requirements are respected:
the name or style and address of the responsible person,
the batch number of manufacture or the reference for identifying the cosmetic product,
the list of ingredients.
Imposing such types of controls would be contrary to the principle on which most of the EU legislation is founded, i.e. each operator is responsible within the limits of its activities (see for example the General Product Safety Directive 201/95).
Insofar as the initial proposal of the Commission did not contain any reference to specific obligations bearing on distributors, one could assume that, in its view, it would have been disproportionate to ask them for controlling elements of information for which they are not in a position to judge whether or not they are accurate.
GRTU drew the attention of the MSA about the impracticability of implementation of such provisions, in particular for SMEs, aiming to get closer to the initial proposal of the Commission which is more practical and sensible.
In the meantime, any comments on the subject would be greatly appreciated.