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Controls on cosmetic sales in Italy

The Italian Ministry of Health has published a communication on their portal, regarding an action by the NAS, the special task force of the Italian ‘Carabinieri’ specialized in the fight against counterfeiting at all levels. Following the controls in shops in several Italian regions, the NAS seized several hundred packs of irregular cosmetic products.

The concerned products were of different nature and were recalled as lacking information on their use and any essential information in Italian. Along with the recall of the cosmetic products, the product authorisation holders also received a money fine.

Other investigations carried out on the web allowed the NAS to file charges against the holders of a company for the manufacturing and marketing of cosmetics that were attributed with therapeutic and curing actions. In this case, along with the recall of the cosmetics, the investigated people were also accused of abusing the medical profession.

Another recall was carried out at a wholesale warehouse for drugs, following an inspection on the hygienic and health conditions of the place. In this case, the cosmetic products were not appropriately labelled as therapeutic properties were claimed.

It is therefore evident that NAS control activities have been intensified and that unfortunately there are still many irregular cosmetic products freely marketed. The regulations on cosmetics are actually very clear and specific and report in details all the essential mandatory information to be included in the labels as well as any forbidden content.

In spite of this, many companies still sell non compliant products. In compliance with the regulations, cosmetic products require an electronic notification before their marketing, following which no approval is issued, and a technical dossier is to be prepared demonstrating their safety. The company is responsible for the compliance with the provisions of the regulations.

Moreover, market controls (both on the sale in shops both in the web) by the Authorities are more and more frequent and allow to track and stop non compliant products. It is therefore necessary that the labelling reports all the mandatory essential information and that this is in the local language; this means that in Italy the products must be labelled in Italian.

Moreover, special attention should be paid to the activities and properties attributed to the products. Cosmetics cannot in fact claim any therapeutic or curing action, but they should limit to the cleansing and cosmetic functions and so on.

Such limits should also be taken into account when preparing the advertising materials for cosmetic products. Companies are therefore advised to carry out a careful evaluation of the composition, the labelling and the information materials of the cosmetic products before marketing them in order to assure the safety of consumers and avoid any costly sanction.