The American College of Gastroenterology meeting in Washington has raised the question that even cosmetics could pose a risk for coeliacs. The main cause for concern would be lipsticks, lip balms, lip pencils, toothpastes and mouthwashes that come into contact with the mucous membranes of the mouth and can be ingested. The risk is mainly due to the lack of information provided by manufacturers. A market survey showed that only 20 % of products come with detailed information about their ingredients. Although food labelling is comprehensive, the same cannot be said for cosmetics, even with regard to products that come into contact with the mucous membranes, lips and face.
The cosmetics industry uses corn, wheat, spelt, rye, kamut (khorasan wheat) and barley derivatives that may contain traces of gluten lipoprotein fraction . The assumption is that accidental ingestion of traces of lipsticks and lip pencils that contain gluten could exacerbate symptoms of coeliac disease, and very few cosmetic companies actually declare their products to be ‘gluten-free’.
Given that coeliac disease is one of the more common food intolerances globally and that, in Europe, one in every hundred people is a coeliac and, for every coeliac diagnosed, there are four others who are not aware that they have the condition, does the Commission intend to introduce controls on cosmetic products in order to safeguard and protect consumers?