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Parliamentary questions
19 December 2012
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 117
Franz Obermayr (NI)

 Subject:  Assessment of product safety for cosmetics — Consumers' and SMEs' interests

In Unit B-2 of DG SANCO, draft guidelines have been submitted on the assessment of product safety for cosmetics (Guideline Annex-I); the aim is to improve consumer protection. There has however been criticism from the quarters concerned that the draft might be damaging to consumer interests and remove some SMEs' livelihood. In particular, there are complaints about the approach being somewhat unrealistic, since the technological realities in Member States (GLP, NOAEL, analysis accessibility, misleading PAO labelling, preventability documentation, completely missing data, consequences of MOS failures, TTC concept) have to a great extent been ignored. It has also been said that additional safety documents are not the tried and tested way to secure greater safety. It would be more useful to invest in higher-quality raw materials and product manufacturing, not in new bureaucratic formalities. Such bureaucratic hurdles can lead to the disappearance of small businesses. Moreover, there are fears that this will mean the end for pure natural cosmetics made from milk, honey and premium olive oil from farms, because these are deemed to be foodstuffs used in cosmetics and, under the Commission's guidelines, are classed as unsafe when brought into contact with skin (no documentary evidence = no safety). This would mean the disappearance of numerous natural raw materials from cosmetics, preferred by many consumers. There is a threat that synthetic petrochemicals might used in their place.

1. What is the Commission's response to the accusation that DG SANCO is drafting a proposal on safety assessment for cosmetic products which would generate a massive additional bureaucratic and cost-intensive burden for SMEs?

2. Does the Commission draft, alongside the additional bureaucratic formalities, also provide for investments in high-quality raw materials and quality-oriented product manufacturing methods? If so, in what form?

3. While this draft was being prepared, were parties representing the interests of SMEs in the cosmetics industry involved? If so, what has been the outcome of such involvement?

4. What is the Commission's stance on the concern that DG SANCO's proposal could mean the end for natural cosmetics?

Original language of question: DEOJ C 340 E, 21/11/2013
Last updated: 15 January 2013Legal notice