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Many "anomalies" detected in cosmetics sold in France

Non-compliant labeling, allegations or compositions: the Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) identified numerous "anomalies" in its 2016 survey on cosmetics, according to a report Released on Friday.

On 8.000 cosmetic products placed on the national market and checked last year, the DGCCRF detected anomalies in 22% of cases, and 39% of establishments (producers or importers) had "at least one anomaly", according to Published on its website.

More 500 products placed on the national market were thus pinned for non-compliant labeling, mainly due to the lack of mandatory information such as expiration date, or non-use of the French language.

More serious, some labels did not include the ingredient list or lot number, or did not mention the presence of allergens while the products contained them.

A hundred products also presented false and "clearly misleading" claims, such as "allergen-free", "paraben-free", "fragrance-free", the DGCCRF noted.

Among the 8.000 controlled products, near 700 were also the subject of a laboratory analysis.

The samples showed that 37% of these products had "non-compliant" or even "dangerous" compositions for 15% of them.

"Companies that have placed hazardous products on the market have generally voluntarily withdrawn from the market, but in seven cases prefectoral orders have had to prescribe a withdrawal-recall before destruction," said the DGCCRF.

Various operators, in particular importers or very small, often artisanal manufacturers, "still do not recognize the extent of their obligations, considering them as heavy administrative formalities", even though these failures are "detrimental" to the consumer. The DGCCRF pointed out.

His investigation resulted in 377 warnings, 188 administrative police measures, 79 minutes and 16 seizures. The DGCCRF also plans to initiate a "reinforcement of regulatory communication", in particular for SMEs in the sector.

Two weeks ago, the association UFC-Que Choisir had spotted 23 cosmetic products sold in France although containing substances formally prohibited in the European Union. The DGCCRF told AFP that it would investigate the issue.

"Many self-entrepreneurs, including farmers seeking to diversify, make essential oils in their hangar or kitchen, and then sell them to markets," said Patrick O'Quin,
President of the Federation of Beauty Enterprises (Febea), questioned Friday by AFP.

"As their products are natural, they think they are out of any regulatory framework (...), it is total blur," he lamented.

Non-compliant cosmetics are a "real concern" but they would only concern a very small part of the sector's volume, about 1 million of different formulas allowed in the European Union, according to Mr. O'Quin.

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