General Product Safety Regulation (GPSR). Does it apply to cosmetic products? Yes!

25/04/2024

In May 2023, the European Union published the General Product Safety Regulation (GPSR, Regulation (EU) 2023/988) and on 12th June 2023, the GPSR entered into force. It applies to products not regulated by sectorial legislation.

In this case, General Product Safety Regulation (GPSR) applies to cosmetic products. Why? This article wants to help businesses willing to place their products in the EU market. The objective of the new regulation is to ensure that products on sale are safe and provide a legal mechanism for corrective action when they are not.

What does the GPSR say?

This new regulation revises and updates the General Product Safety Directive from 2001 (GPSD) in light of new technologies and online selling, which has created new business models, challenges for product safety, and new economic operators on the market. Ensuring better product safety is vital to protecting consumers and providing safe products.

The General Product Safety Regulation (GPSR) is directly applicable in all Member States and was immediately enforced. The new regulation will replace the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) 2001/95/EC after a transitional period ending on the 13th of December 2024.

The GPSR states a new definition of economic operators and providers of online marketplaces and also, its obligations. Economic operators and providers of online marketplaces should be obliged to place only safe products on the market and comply with market surveillance authorities to eliminate or mitigate any risks of the products on the market.

Does the GPSR apply to cosmetic products?

Economic operators selling cosmetic products online or through other means of distance sales, whether established within or outside the EU and directly targeting EU consumers, must follow all the relevant legal requirements of the EU Cosmetic Product Regulation 1223/2009 (CPR).

Indeed, the CPR establishes the rules to be complied with by any cosmetic product made available on the market, to provide a high level of protection of human health, whilst ensuring the functioning of the internal market.

Additionally, cosmetics sold via distance sales must meet the requirements of the CPSR not covered by the CPR, specifically Article 19 of the GPSR. Hence, Article 19 GPSR is complementary to Article 19 CPR on labelling requirements so, General Product Safety Regulation (GPSR) applies to cosmetic products.

Article 19 GPSR, what it says? A guideline

In November 2023, Cosmetics Europe published a guidance document for the industry on how this new regulation (CPSR) applies to cosmetic products. Below is a summary of the main points.

The CPR also allocates responsibilities to the various actors along the supply chain by establishing the central concept of a responsible person for each cosmetic product placed on the EU market.

In addition to the requirements imposed by the CPR, economic operators willing to make cosmetic products available on the EU market via online / distance sales, have to comply with the obligations set out in Article 19 of the GPSR.

Article 19 of the GPSR requires that where economic operators make products available on the market online or through other means of distance sales, the offer of those products shall clearly and visibly indicate at least the following information.

Information to share, main points

Name of the manufacturer: For cosmetic products, the manufacturer is understood as the responsible person. Here two situations apply:

       a)  Where the manufacturer is located in the EU. The name, registered trade name, or registered trademark of the manufacturer, as well as the postal and electronic address at which they can be contacted, should be placed at the point of online sales.

       b)  where the manufacturer is not established in the EU, the name, postal, and electronic address of the responsible person within the meaning of Article 16(1) of this Regulation or Article 4(1) of Regulation (EU) 2019/1020; the CPR requires that for imported cosmetic products, each importer shall be the ‘responsible person’ for the specific products that he/she places on the market.

Later on, the following information and warnings also should be placed:

        c)  information allowing the identification of the product, including a picture of it, its type, and any other product identifier; and

        d)  any warning or safety information to be affixed to the product or the packaging or included in an accompanying document following this Regulation or the applicable Union harmonisation legislation in a language that can be easily understood by consumers, as determined by the Member State in which the product is made available on the market.

For each of these four types of information, Cosmetics Europe provided an interpretation of what they believe these mean for cosmetic products, in light of the labelling requirements of the CPR, Article 19, to ensure consistent communication towards consumers.

The above elements do not need to be shown separately if they are readable in the picture of the product.

Responsibilities.

Cosmetics Europe guidance document also clarifies who is responsible for compliance with Article 19 GPSR. The responsibility is shared between the Responsible Person (as stated at CPR) and the distance sales retailer. Therefore, the Responsible Person has to provide the information and keep it updated; the retailer is responsible for indicating/displaying it at the online or distance point of sale.

Any changes to the GPSR need to be clearly understood by manufacturers and retailers to ensure their products comply with EU law and are consistent with consumer safety.

Do you want to know more about GPSR? Let us help, contact us.

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