National Trading Standards – Electrical Products

This guidance is for England, Scotland & Wales

Electrical equipment designed for use between 50-1,000 volts AC or 75-1,500 volts DC must be safe, constructed in accordance with principles constituting good engineering practice and conform to specific regulatory safety objectives.

If the electrical equipment complies with a harmonised European standard, it is automatically taken to be safe. There are specific requirements for the manufacturer of the product, including affixing the CE mark, drawing up and holding an EC declaration of conformity, and keeping technical information for inspection purposes.

Electrical equipment is required to comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016. The Regulations therefore apply to electrical equipment that is designed to be connected to a domestic mains electricity supply, as well as to some industrial equipment.

Components of electrical equipment are also covered if they are to be supplied as separate items.

Second-hand items (including items for hire and equipment supplied as part of a furnished accommodation) are required to satisfy the principal elements of the safety objectives only. They are not required to be CE marked etc.

Principal safety objectives

Electrical equipment must:

  • be constructed in such a way to ensure that it can be used safely and for the purpose that it was made
  • be in conformity with the safety objectives contained in Part 2 of and Schedules 1 and 2 to the Regulations, including:
    – being marked in accordance with the requirements set out below so that it can be easily traced
    – designed so that the equipment, including its component parts, can be safely and properly assembled and connected
    – instructions and information required for the equipment to be used safely must be marked on the equipment or in an accompanying notice
    – operate at a safe temperature with no dangerous arcing or radiation
    – have adequate insulation for foreseeable conditions
    – have the right technical information available, demonstrating compliance with CE marking requirements and a ‘declaration of conformity’

Satisfying the principal safety objectives

Manufacturers must have adequate internal production control (quality assurance) as a means of satisfying conformity, achieved through taking responsibility for the technical documentation and monitoring manufacturing processes. Either the manufacturer or (by written mandate) the authorised representatives should draw up a declaration of conformity in accordance with Schedule 8 to the Regulations and apply the CE mark (as below).

If the electrical equipment complies with a harmonised European standard, there is a presumption that it meets the principal safety objectives. If there is no relevant harmonised European standard, compliance with international standards will be sufficient. If there are no relevant international standards, compliance with a national standard will be sufficient provided that standard includes everything in the principal safety objectives.

Labelling & records

A manufacturer or their authorised representative within the European Economic Area (EEA) must do the following.

Ensure that the electrical equipment bears a type, batch or serial number or other element allowing its identification.

Indicate on the electrical equipment the manufacturer’s name, registered trade name or registered trade mark and the postal address at which they can be contacted. If it is not possible to indicate these on the equipment itself, then it may be indicated on the product packaging or accompanying documents. These have to be legible and easily understood by the end users and market surveillance authorities. In the UK it must be in English.

Affix a CE mark to the equipment, the packaging, instruction sheet or guarantee certificate. The CE mark is a declaration that the equipment complies with the Regulations.

CE mark

Draw up and hold an ‘EC declaration of conformity’, which should contain:

  • product model, type, batch or serial number(s) to which the declaration of conformity applies (for traceability purposes)
  • the name and address of the manufacturer or their authorised representative
  • a description of the electrical equipment (may include a colour image where necessary for the identification of the electrical equipment)
  • a reference to the harmonised standards used to assess compliance (if no harmonised standard, then a reference to other specifications)
  • identification of the person who will enter into commitments on behalf of the manufacturer or authorised representative (if appropriate)
  • the place and date of issue

Compile and hold technical documentation, which should contain:

  • a general description of the electrical equipment
  • the conceptual design, manufacturing drawings, details of components, etc along with information to help interpretation of these
  • a list of the standards with which the electrical equipment complies; or, if standards were not used, a description of what has been done to ensure compliance with the general safety requirement
  • results and reports of tests, examinations, calculations, etc

Obligations of importers & distributors

Importers must not place any electrical equipment on the market unless they have assurances that it complies with the principal safety objectives and ensure that the manufacturers have met all their obligations in relation to conformity assessment procedures, technical documentation, CE marking and labelling requirements. This must be made available to an enforcing authority on request.

Importers must also indicate on the electrical equipment their name or registered trade mark and a postal address at which they can be contacted. If it is not possible to put all the information on the equipment itself, importers can put their full name or trademark and details on the packaging instead.

Distributors have a responsibility to ensure that instructions and safety information accompany the electrical equipment before placing it on the market. They must also check with the importer that the manufacturer of the electrical equipment has met their obligations with regard to the labelling requirements. Distributors must check that the electrical equipment bears a label that correctly identifies the importer.

Obligations of manufacturers & importers

Manufacturers and importers have additional obligations; they must:

  • carry out sample testing of electrical equipment made available on the market
  • investigate and keep a register of complaints, of non-conforming electrical equipment and electrical equipment recalls
  • keep distributors informed of any such monitoring

Who should keep the documentation?

The declaration of conformity and the technical documentation must be kept and be available for inspection by enforcement bodies (including trading standards) by:

  1. the manufacturer, if they are in the EEA
  2. their authorised representative, if they are outside the EEA
  3. if neither of the above, the importer into the EEA

These must be kept for a period of 10 years beginning on the day on which the electrical equipment is placed on the market.

Safe connection for domestic electrical equipment

If the electrical equipment is a plug-in device (such as a charger) intended to be connected, without the use of a mains lead or plug, directly to the United Kingdom public electricity supply via a socket outlet conforming to BS 1363: A plugs, socket-outlets, adaptors and connection units, the economic operator must ensure that the plug-in device is compatible with socket outlets conforming to BS 1363.

Where the electrical equipment has a flexible lead and plug assembly, such as a vacuum cleaner, and is intended to be connected to the United Kingdom public electricity supply by means of a socket outlet conforming to BS 1363, the economic operator must ensure that that plug is a correctly fitted standard plug fitted with a BS 1362 fuse, or is a correctly fitted non-UK plug conforming to the safety provisions of IEC 884-1 and correctly fitted with a compatible conversion plug.

Other CE-marking regulations that may apply

  • Medical Devices Regulations 2002 (further information is available from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, telephone 020 3080 6000)
  • Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008
  • Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011 (also contain a general safety requirement)
  • Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2016 (contain provisions prohibiting electromagnetic emissions from electrical equipment interfering with the operation of other equipment)
  • Radio Equipment Regulations 2017

Penalties

Failure to comply with trading standards law can lead to enforcement action and to sanctions, which may include a fine and/or imprisonment.

Key legislation

Medical Devices Regulations 2002

Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008

Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011

Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016

Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2016

Radio Equipment Regulations 2017

PLEASE NOTE

The information is intended for guidance only; only the courts can give you an authoritative interpretation of the law.

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National Trading Standards – Tobacco & nicotine inhaling products

This guidance is for England

Certain products cannot be sold to persons below a legal minimum age; for tobacco and nicotine inhaling products this legal minimum age is 18.

A packet of cigarettes must contain a minimum of 20 cigarettes and must only be sold in its original packaging. A notice must be displayed stating ‘It is illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18’.

Tobacco products must not be on display in-store and there are also restrictions on how prices and price lists are displayed.

Young people should always be asked for proof of their age.

What is meant by tobacco, tobacco products & nicotine inhaling products?

‘Tobacco’ is defined as including cigarettes, any product containing tobacco for oral or nasal use (for example, snuff) and smoking mixtures used as a substitute for tobacco (for example, herbal cigarettes). ‘Cigarettes’ include cut tobacco rolled up in paper, tobacco leaf and other material in a form that is capable of being immediately used for smoking.

A ‘tobacco product’ is defined as “a product consisting wholly or partly of tobacco and intended to be smoked, sniffed, sucked or chewed”.

A ‘nicotine inhaling product’ means a nicotine inhaling device (used to inhale nicotine through a mouth piece), nicotine cartridge (contains nicotine and forms part of a nicotine inhaling device) or nicotine refill substance (generally known as e-liquid). Nicotine inhaling devices are commonly referred to as ‘e-cigarettes’ and the law covers both disposable and rechargeable types.

Age restriction on the sale of tobacco products

The law states that it is an offence for any person to sell any tobacco products (including cigarette papers) to a person under 18, whether or not it was for their own use. This is a strict liability offence, which means the owner of the business can be held responsible as well as the member of staff who made the sale. If you are charged with this offence, you have the defence that you took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to avoid committing the offence. This is commonly known as the ‘due diligence’ defence. The ‘Keeping within the law’ section of this guide includes steps that can be taken to provide a ‘due diligence’ defence.

You must display a notice that states:

IT IS ILLEGAL TO SELL 
TOBACCO PRODUCTS 
TO ANYONE UNDER
THE AGE OF 18

The notice must be displayed in a prominent position and be easily visible at the point of sale. The notice must be no less than 297 mm x 420 mm (A3) and the characters must be no less than 36 mm in height. Your local trading standards service or your tobacco supplier may be able to provide a notice for you to use. It is an offence if you do not have the required notice on display, although the ‘due diligence’ defence is available to you.

Age restriction on the sale of nicotine inhaling products

A person who sells a nicotine inhaling product to someone under 18 commits an offence. This is a strict liability offence; the owner of the business can be held responsible as well as the member of staff who made the sale.

There is an exception for nicotine inhaling products that are licensed as medicines or medical devices. This exemption only applies to the extent to which the product is authorised.

If you sell e-cigarettes and associated devices you might want to display a poster advising customers that you will not sell to under-18s:

If I sell e-cigarettes or
nicotine refills to
people under 18 …
TRADING STANDARDS
WILL PROSECUTE ME

Note: unlike the tobacco poster, this is NOT a legal requirement and is simply suggested wording.

Age of the person making the sale

If you employ children in your business, it is not illegal for them to sell tobacco products, provided of course that the customer is not under 18. However, leaving unsupervised children selling tobacco is not recommended as they may find it difficult to refuse customers in their own age group.

Persistent sales to under-18s

If you are convicted of selling tobacco or nicotine inhaling products to persons under 18, and at least two other offences occurred in the preceding two years relating to the same premises, trading standards can make an application to a Magistrates’ Court for a restricted premises order and/or a restricted sales order.

A restricted premises order prohibits the sale from the premises of any tobacco, cigarette papers or nicotine inhaling products to any person, by you or any of your staff for a period of up to one year. You are entitled to make representations to the court as to why they should not grant the order.

A restricted sales order prohibits a specified person who has been convicted of a tobacco or nicotine offence from selling any tobacco, cigarette papers or nicotine inhaling products to any person and from having any management function related to the sale of tobacco, cigarette papers or nicotine inhaling products for a period of up to one year.

Offences are committed if a person sells tobacco, cigarette papers or nicotine inhaling products when a restricted premises order is in place or if a person fails to comply with a restricted sales order.

Proxy purchase of tobacco & nicotine inhaling products

An adult who buys or attempts to buy tobacco, cigarette papers or nicotine inhaling products on behalf of someone under 18 commits an offence. This is called ‘proxy purchasing’.

It is the buyer and not the trader who commits an offence under these circumstances. However, be aware of young people loitering outside your premises; they may ask adult customers to buy tobacco, cigarette papers or nicotine inhaling products for them. You may wish to refuse such sales.

Is it legal to sell single cigarettes?

No. A packet of cigarettes must contain a minimum of 20 cigarettes. It is an offence to sell cigarettes to any person other than in their original package. This means you must not split a pack and sell in lesser quantities.

Can tobacco be sold from vending machines?

No. Under the Protection from Tobacco (Sales from Vending Machines) (England) Regulations 2010, the sale of tobacco from an automatic vending machine is prohibited. If a sale takes place, the person who controls, or is concerned with the management of the premises where the automatic vending machine is located, commits the offence.

Any machines still on the premises can only be used for storage where the public do not have access to them (such as behind the bar) and must not display any advertising material.

Display & price marking of tobacco products

Under the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Display) (England) Regulations 2010, you are required to cover your display of tobacco products. It is an offence to display tobacco products unless a specific request to purchase tobacco has been made to you by a person aged 18 or over. It is NOT an offence to display tobacco-related accessories such as cigarette papers.

If you are charged with an offence where a requested display was to a person under 18, you have the defence that you believed the person was 18 or over and you had taken all reasonable steps to establish their age or from their appearance no-one could reasonably have suspected that the person was under 18. Taking ‘all reasonable steps’ means asking the person for evidence of their age and the evidence would convince a reasonable person. If you are charged with an offence of causing the display of a tobacco product, you have the defence available that you exercised all due diligence to avoid committing the offence.

There are also strict requirements relating to the manner in which tobacco products are price-marked, as set out in the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Display of Prices) (England) Regulations 2010; there are only three forms of lists and labels that are allowed (see paragraphs 49-62 of the detailed guidance linked to below).

There are specific rules for bulk and specialist tobacconists (see paragraphs 38-39 and 60-62 of the detailed guidance).

Cigarette lighter refills

Under the Cigarette Lighter Refill (Safety) Regulations 1999 it is an offence to supply any cigarette lighter refill canisters containing butane to anyone under 18. This is because of the potential for abuse by ‘sniffing’ the gas, which can be extremely dangerous.

Matches & lighters

It is not illegal to sell matches or lighters to children. However, it is recommended that you do not sell these items to children, who are unlikely to have a legitimate use for them.

Defences

If you are charged with any of the offences detailed above, you have the defence that you took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to avoid committing the offence. For age-restricted products such as tobacco this generally means that you believed the person was aged 18 or over and you had taken all reasonable steps to establish their age or that from their appearance no-one could reasonably have suspected that the person was under 18. Taking ‘all reasonable steps’ means asking the person for evidence of their age and that the evidence would convince a reasonable person.

Keeping within the law

In order to keep within the law and therefore satisfy the legal defences, you should introduce an age verification policy and have effective systems to prevent sales and display to under-18s. These systems should be regularly monitored and updated as necessary to identify and put right any problems or weaknesses, and to keep pace with any advances in technology.

Key best practice features of an effective system include:

Age verification checks

Always ask young people to produce proof of their age. The Chartered Trading Standards Institute, the Home Office and the National Police Chiefs’ Council support the UK’s national Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS), which includes a number of card issuers. You can be confident that a card issued under the scheme and bearing the PASS hologram is an acceptable proof of age.

A passport or UK photocard driving licence is also acceptable but make sure that the card matches the person using it and the date of birth shows they are 18 or over. Military identification cards can be used as proof of age but, as with other forms of identification, make sure that the photo matches the person presenting the card and check the date of birth. Be aware that military identification cards can be held by 16 and 17-year-old service people.

Some young people may present false identification cards so it is advisable to also check the look and feel of a card. For example, the PASS hologram should be an integral part of a PASS card and not an add-on.

If the person cannot prove they are 18 or over, or if you are in any doubt, then the sale should be refused.

Please see the Home Office False ID Guidance for more information.

Operate a Challenge 21 or Challenge 25 policy

This means that if the person appears to be under 21 or 25, they will be asked to verify that they are 18 or over by showing valid proof of age.

Staff training

Make sure your staff are properly trained. They should know which products are age restricted, what the age restriction is and the action they must take if they believe a person under 18 is attempting to buy. It is important that you can prove your staff have understood what is required of them under the legislation. This can be done by keeping a record of the training and asking the member of staff to sign to say that they have understood it. These records should then be checked and signed on a regular basis by management or the owner.

Maintain a refusals log

All refusals of tobacco and tobacco products should be recorded (date, time, incident, description of potential buyer). Maintaining a refusals log will help to demonstrate that you actively refuse sales and have an effective system in place. Logs should be checked by the manager / owner to ensure that all members of staff are using them.

Some tills have a refusals system built in. If using a till-based system, you should ensure that refusals can be retrieved at a later date. You should also be aware that some refusals are made before a product is scanned.

Till prompts

If you possess an EPoS system then it may be possible to use it to remind staff of age restrictions via a prompt. Alternatively, stickers can be used over certain product barcodes.

You should note that till prompts will not help you prevent offences under the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Display) (England) Regulations 2010 as the scan and prompt takes place after the display has been made.

Signage

You must display the legally required tobacco notice (see ‘Age restriction on the sale of tobacco products’ above). This should deter potential purchasers and act as a reminder to staff.

Closed circuit television (CCTV)

A CCTV system may act as a deterrent and reduce the number of incidents of underage sales.

Penalties

Failure to comply with trading standards law can lead to enforcement action and to sanctions, which may include a fine and/or imprisonment.

Key legislation

Children and Young Persons Act 1933

Children and Young Persons (Protection from Tobacco) Act 1991

Cigarette Lighter Refill (Safety) Regulations 1999

Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 2002

Protection from Tobacco (Sales from Vending Machines) (England) Regulations 2010

Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Display) (England) Regulations 2010

Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Display of Prices) (England) Regulations 2010

Children and Families Act 2014

Nicotine Inhaling Products (Age of Sale and Proxy Purchasing) Regulations 2015

Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015

PLEASE NOTE

The information is intended for guidance only; only the courts can give you an authoritative interpretation of the law.

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National Trading Standards – New Nightwear

This guidance is for England, Scotland & Wales

The Nightwear (Safety) Regulations 1985 make it an offence to supply some children’s nightwear unless it has been treated so that it conforms, after washing, to the flammability performance requirements of British standard BS 5722: Specification for flammability performance of fabrics and fabric combinations used in nightwear garments.

Note: this standard has been withdrawn by the British Standards Institution (BSI) but is still referred to in the Regulations.

The Regulations lay down labelling requirements so that purchasers can tell whether other nightwear – including adults’ – does or does not meet the flammability requirements.

Second-hand nightwear does not have to comply with these Regulations.

Children’s nightwear

Children’s nightwear means anything designed for wear by, and that would normally be worn by, a person under the age of 13 years, except:

  • night dresses with a chest measurement of more than 91 cm or a length of more than 122 cm
  • dressing gowns, bath robes and other similar garments with a chest measurement of more than 97 cm or a sleeve measurement of more than 69 cm

Children’s nightwear must comply with the flammability performance requirements of BS 5722, except the following items:

  • garments for babies up to three months old, with a chest measurement of 53 cm or less
  • pyjamas
  • cotton terry-towelling bath robes

Other nightwear

Other nightwear (including adult nightwear), babies’ garments, children’s pyjamas and children’s cotton terry-towelling bath robes must be labelled so as to inform the purchaser whether the item does or does not meet the flammability requirements of BS 5722.

If the item does not meet the requirements, it must have a label, printed in red, stating ‘KEEP AWAY FROM FIRE’. If the item meets the requirements, it must have a label with one of the following:

  • a statement in red text stating ‘KEEP AWAY FROM FIRE’
  • a statement in black text stating ‘LOW FLAMMABILITY TO BS 5722’
  • both statements in appropriate colours

Special rules apply to these items where they are advertised for sale on the internet or by mail order. If the item does not meet the flammability requirements the wording ‘KEEP AWAY FROM FIRE’ must be displayed next to the advert in a red-sided equilateral triangle. If the item does meet low flammability requirements the advert must show a green triangle with the words ‘LOW FLAM’ within it.

Treated nightwear

Any nightwear treated with flame-retardant chemicals must also have a label that states ‘DO NOT WASH AT MORE THAN 50oC. CHECK SUITABILITY OF WASHING AGENT’.

Positioning of labels

The wording described above must be given on a durable label on the inside neck of the garment or next to the label giving the size of the garment, or the wording must be given on the size label immediately following such information.

Safety standards

The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 also require goods to be safe. When assessing the safety of a product, manufacturers are encouraged to manufacture goods in accordance with European standards. The European standard BS EN 14878: Textiles. Burning behaviour of children’s nightwear. Specification contains flammability performance requirements for children’s nightwear. This covers all nightwear for children aged under 14*, including pyjamas, all dressing gowns, and babies’ garments, and introduces specific flammability requirements for these garments.

[*This is different from the age of 13 that is specified in the Nightwear (Safety) Regulations 1985.]

In principle, it is recommended that the requirements of the UK Regulations continue to be applied, where applicable. However, for garments such as children’s pyjamas and cotton terry-towelling bath robes and babies’ garments, the flammability requirements of BS EN 14878 should be applied so that suppliers meet the statutory requirements of the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (GPSR).

The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 also cover second-hand goods, so again EN 14878 could be used to assess the safety of second-hand children’s nightwear. In common with other consumer products, these Regulations require the manufacturer to mark the product, or its packaging, with their name and address and the product reference or batch code (unless it would not be reasonable to do so).

In addition to the specific flammability requirements, nightwear must be safe in all other respects, such as avoiding strangulation, entrapment, and choking hazards caused by cords and fasteners and chemical hazards.

See ‘General product safety: distributors‘ and ‘General product safety: producers‘ for more information on the GPSR.

All nightwear must comply with the requirements of EU Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) and therefore must not contain certain azo dyes and harmful flame retardants.

Penalties

Failure to comply with trading standards law can lead to enforcement action and to sanctions, which may include a fine and/or imprisonment.

Key legislation

Nightwear (Safety) Regulations 1985

General Product Safety Regulations 2005

EU Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH)

PLEASE NOTE

The information is intended for guidance only; only the courts can give you an authoritative interpretation of the law.

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National Trading Standards – Labelling of textiles

This guidance is for England, Scotland & Wales

The Textile Products (Labelling and Fibre Composition) Regulations 2012 require all textile products to carry a label indicating the fibre content, either on the item or the packaging. If a product consists of two or more components with different fibre contents, the content of each must be shown. Only certain names can be used for textile fibres and these are listed in the Regulations along with a list of products that are not required to bear fibre content.

There is a general obligation to state the full fibre composition of textile products.

What is a textile product?

A textile product can be defined in any of the following ways:

  • raw, semi-worked, worked, semi-manufactured, manufactured, semi-made up or made up products composed of textile fibres
  • products containing at least 80% by weight of textile fibres (including furniture, umbrella and sunshade coverings)
  • textile parts of carpets, mattresses and camping goods
  • textiles incorporated in, and forming an integral part of, other products where textile parts are specified

How should the product be labelled?

All items must carry a label indicating the fibre content, either on the item or the packaging.

The label should be durable, easily legible, visible and accessible. If the product is supplied to a wholesaler the indication may be contained within business documents – the invoice, for example. A textile product consisting of two or more fibres accounting for 85% of the finished product should be marked with the fibre followed by a percentage – for example, ‘cotton 80%, polyester 15%, nylon 5%’.

If a product consists of two or more components with different fibre contents – for example, a jacket with a lining – the content of each must be shown. Any decorative matter that makes up 7% or less of the product is excluded from the indication of fibre content. The word ‘pure’ should only be used where the garment is made up of only one fibre. The word ‘silk’ cannot be used to describe the texture of any other fibre – for example, ‘silk acetate’ is not permitted. Only certain names can be used for textile fibres and these are listed in annex I of EU Regulation (EU) No 1007/2011 on textile fibre names and related labelling and marking of the fibre composition of textile products(see link in ‘Key legislation’ below). This list may be updated as new technology produces new fibres.

If you are using, buying or selling a fibre product with a name that does not appear on this list, contact your local trading standards service for advice.

There are special provisions that relate to the required method of labelling of corsetry products, etch-printed and embroidered textiles, velvet and plush textiles (or textiles resembling velvet or plush), and floor coverings and carpets where the backing and pile are composed of different fibres.

Textile products in sold in multipacks – such as floorcloths, cleaning cloths, handkerchiefs, bun nets and hair nets, wash-gloves, face flannels, etc – of the same type and fibre composition may have inclusive rather than individual labelling. The full list of products to which this allowance may be applied can be found in annex VI of EU Regulation (EU) No 1007/2011.

Annex VII of EU Regulation (EU) No 1007/2011 contains information on textile product components that are not taken into account in determining fibre compositions.

Fur & other animal parts

Consumers must be made aware when textile products contain parts of animal origin, such as fur, leather, bone, etc.

The use of non-textile parts of animal origin must be clearly labelled or marked using the phrase ‘contains non-textile parts of animal origin’. The label can contain further information on the parts of animal origin – such as mink fur or lambskin – but the mandatory phrase must always be used.

This also means that any mis-labelling – for example, labelling real fur as faux fur – is an offence.

Additionally, it is an offence to sell, import or export cat and dog fur, and products containing such fur. Similar provisions apply to the marketing of seal fur (these are enforced by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) rather than trading standards services).

Advertisements, catalogues & e-commerce

Where products are advertised in such a way that they can be ordered by reference solely to the description in the advertisement, the Regulations require an indication of fibre content to appear in the advertisement. Advertisements include catalogues, the internet, circulars, price lists and trade literature.

Products that do not have to bear a fibre content indication

  • air-supported structures
  • animal clothing
  • artificial flowers
  • book covers
  • buttons and buckles
  • certain types of cordage, rope and string intended as components in other items
  • disposable articles (except wadding)
  • egg cosies
  • flags and banners
  • funeral products
  • gaiters
  • labels and badges
  • make-up cases
  • mobile phone and portable media player covers (with a surface area less than 160 cm²)
  • muffs
  • old made up textile products
  • oven gloves and cloths
  • packaging (not new and sold as such – for example, used potato sacks)
  • painted canvas
  • pin cushions
  • protective requisites of sport (except gloves)
  • saddlery
  • safety items (for example, life jackets, parachutes)
  • sails
  • shoe cleaning cases
  • sleeve protectors
  • sleeve supporting arm bands
  • slide fasteners
  • spectacle, cigarette and cigar, lighter and comb cases
  • stuffed pan holders
  • table mats having several components and a surface area not exceeding 500 cm²
  • tapestries, including materials for their production
  • tea and coffee cosies
  • textile parts of footwear
  • textile products for base and underlying fabrics and stiffening
  • tobacco pouches
  • toilet cases
  • toys
  • travel goods
  • watch straps

Further information

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has produced more detailed guidance on the requirements: Textile labelling regulations: Guidance on the Textile Products (Labelling and Fibre Composition) Regulations 2012.

Other legislation

In addition to the specific textile legislation, the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 prohibit misleading actions and omissions when describing products and services, as well as misleading prices.

Penalties

Failure to comply with trading standards law can lead to enforcement action and to sanctions, which may include a fine and/or imprisonment.

Key legislation

Cat and Dog Fur (Control of Import, Export and Placing on the Market) Regulations 2008

Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008

Seal Products Regulations 2010

EU Regulation (EU) No 1007/2011 on textile fibre names and related labelling and marking of the fibre composition of textile products

Textile Products (Labelling and Fibre Composition) Regulations 2012

PLEASE NOTE

The information is intended for guidance only; only the courts can give you an authoritative interpretation of the law.

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National Trading Standards – General Product Safety: Distributors

This guidance is for England, Scotland & Wales

Consumer products must be ‘safe’. Safety can be assessed by the application of standards; if the product complies with a harmonised European standard, it is automatically taken to be safe. This is known as a presumption of conformity.

The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (GPSR) provide the main basis for ensuring the safety of consumer goods by imposing certain controls. These ensure that all products intended for or likely to be used by consumers under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions are safe.

As a retailer or wholesaler of consumer goods whose actions do not affect the safety of the goods (this is termed a ‘distributor’ under the Regulations), you will have certain obligations. These obligations also apply to businesses that hire out or supply second-hand goods or supply goods as part of a service.

Product safety

Where a product is already subject to other existing regulations (for example, toys) then those regulations will apply to that product; the GPSR do not apply to the safety of a product where there are specific provisions of European Union (EU) law governing all aspects of its safety. As such, they operate as a kind of ‘mop-up’ set of regulations.

However, the GPSR will apply where they go further than the existing regulations in terms of the specific aspects of safety covered and the extent of the obligations on distributors. The GPSR apply to all products intended for or likely to be used by consumers (even if not intended for them) that are supplied or made available; the test would be whether a consumer can purchase the product without challenge. This includes products supplied or made available to consumers for their own use in the course of a service – for example, gym equipment for use in a gym, high chairs provided for use by diners in a restaurant and trolleys for use by shoppers.

Unlike sector-specific laws, the GPSR do not permit CE marking but do require that distributors only supply safe products.

The following types of consumer goods would fall within the GPSR

  • children’s articles such as cots, prams, high chairs, bunk beds
  • bicycles
  • household goods such as crockery, cutlery, cooking utensils
  • DIY tools
  • furniture and soft furnishings
  • clothing
  • candles and other ornaments
  • hobby and art materials

If there are aspects of safety under GPSR that are not covered by the products’ own sector-specific regulations – such as electrical equipment – then the GPSR aspects will also apply.

The Regulations also cover products that were originally designed and intended for professional use but subsequently ‘migrate’ on to the consumer market (such as certain power tools). Where consumers can acquire professional products, they must be treated as ‘consumer goods’.

As a distributor if you supply a ‘professional use only’ product to a consumer you will be responsible for its safety and if the product could never be safe for use by consumers you should take such steps as are reasonable and necessary to ensure the marketing and supply of the product is very strictly controlled.

Distributor obligations

The main obligation on a distributor is to supply a safe product.

In particular you must act with due care to help ensure only safe products are supplied and must not supply products that, as a professional, you know (or should have presumed on the basis of information in your possession) to be dangerous. For example, if a product has been subject to a recall you must not supply any you may still have in stock.

As a distributor you must also provide consumers with relevant information to enable them to:

  • assess any risk posed by the product throughout the period of its use (where such risks are not immediately obvious)
  • take precautions against those risks

This means passing on all the warnings and instructions that accompany the product.

A further obligation on distributors is to be able to show traceability of the products you supply. In practice the documentation that is required to support Inland Revenue and VAT requirements should be sufficient, as long as they show from whom the goods were purchased and, if not for retail, to whom they were sold. Such records have to be kept for a minimum of six years, which should cover your GPSR obligations.

Where you discover (perhaps as a result of a consumer complaint) that a product you have supplied poses risks to the consumer and is unsafe you must immediately notify your supplier of the issue. In some instances – for example, where it is not easy to contact your supplier – you must then inform your local trading standards service.

You must cooperate with the enforcement authorities at their request. This includes the provision of information relating to the product, the nature of the risk, the product’s supply and marketing, and also in taking appropriate action to remove the risk from consumers.

It is an offence under the GPSR not to fulfil these obligations.

Enforcement action by the authorities

Where distributors have not fulfilled their obligations under these Regulations, enforcement authorities have access to a range of measures that can be employed in removing risk to consumer safety. These are known as safety notices. They are only used when voluntary actions have not removed the risk.

All parties concerned must, whenever feasible, be given an opportunity to submit their views before the adoption of a measure.

The measure chosen will be proportionate to the seriousness of the risk:

‘Suspension notices’. Where there may have been a breach of the Regulations, these notices temporarily ban the placing on the market or the supply of a product while tests are undertaken and the results are awaited.

‘Requirement to mark’ / ‘requirement to warn’. These powers allow an enforcement authority to order the marking of a product with suitable warnings where it could pose risks in certain conditions, or require that specific warnings be given to certain persons considered to be at particular risk from a product – for example, young children, the elderly, etc.

‘Withdrawal notices’. Enforcement authorities can issue a withdrawal notice to permanently prevent a person from further supplying a product that is believed to be dangerous where it is already on the market (if the voluntary action is insufficient or unsatisfactory).

Producer obligations

If you affect the safety of the goods by any action – such as removing the goods from their packaging, assembling products, repairing products or not passing on instructions and warnings – then you become the ‘producer’ of the goods. In this case you will have to comply with the producer obligations under the GPSR.

Penalties

Failure to comply with trading standards law can lead to enforcement action and to sanctions, which may include a fine and/or imprisonment.

Key legislation

General Product Safety Regulations 2005

PLEASE NOTE

The information is intended for guidance only; only the courts can give you an authoritative interpretation of the law.

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National Trading Standards – General Product Safety: Producers

This guidance is for England, Scotland & Wales

Consumer products must be ‘safe’. Safety can be assessed by the application of standards; if the product complies with a harmonised European standard, it is automatically taken to be safe. This is known as a presumption of conformity.

The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (GPSR) provide the main basis for ensuring the safety of consumer goods by imposing certain controls. These ensure that all products intended for or likely to be used by consumers under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions are safe.

As a manufacturer, own-brander or importer of consumer goods (all of which are termed a ‘producer’ under the Regulations) you will have certain obligations, including traceability and monitoring requirements.

Product safety

Where a product is already subject to other existing regulations (for example, toys) then those regulations will apply to that product; the GPSR do not apply to the safety of a product where there are specific provisions of European Union (EU) law governing all aspects of its safety. As such, they operate as a kind of ‘mop-up’ set of regulations.

However, the GPSR will apply where they go further than the existing regulations in terms of the specific aspects of safety covered and the extent of the obligations on producers. The GPSR apply to all products intended for or likely to be used by consumers (even if not intended for them) that are supplied or made available; the test would be whether a consumer can purchase the product without challenge. This includes products supplied or made available to consumers for their own use in the course of a service – for example, gym equipment for use in a gym, high chairs provided for use by diners in a restaurant and trolleys for use by shoppers.

Unlike sector-specific laws the GPSR do not permit CE marking but do require that producers only supply safe products.

The following types of consumer goods would fall within the GPSR:

  • children’s articles, such as cots, prams, high chairs, bunk beds
  • bicycles
  • household goods, such as crockery, cutlery, cooking utensils
  • DIY tools
  • furniture and soft furnishings
  • clothing
  • candles and other ornaments
  • hobby and art materials

If there are aspects of safety under GPSR that are not covered by the products’ own sector-specific regulations – such as electrical equipment – then the GPSR aspects will also apply.

The Regulations also cover products that were originally designed and intended for professional use but subsequently ‘migrate’ on to the consumer market (such as certain power tools). Where consumers can acquire professional products, they must be treated as ‘consumer goods’.

Where it is reasonably foreseeable that a professional product may find its way on to the consumer market (intended or not) suitable instructions for consumer use and warnings of any risks that are not obvious must be provided. However, where it is unlikely that the product could ever be safe for use by consumers, producers should take such steps as are reasonable and necessary to ensure the marketing and supply of the product is very strictly controlled. Labelling a product ‘for professional use only’ (or similar) is unlikely to be sufficient on its own unless, for example, it can only be purchased through a strict ‘trade only’ outlet.

Defining a safe product

A safe product is one that does not present any unnecessary risk to anyone when the product is used in a normal or reasonably foreseeable way. In assessing the safety of products, you must take account of (among other things):

  • the packaging, all accompanying instructions and any other labelling
  • the effect of the product on other products with which it may be foreseeably used
  • the special needs of particular classes of person, especially children

A framework for assessing safety

The Regulations set out a ‘hierarchy’ that must be taken into account when the safety of a product is being assessed.

The Regulations refer to a ‘presumption of conformity’: “Where a product conforms to a voluntary national standard of the United Kingdom giving effect to a European standard … the product shall be presumed to be a safe product so far as concerns the risks and categories of risk covered by that national standard.”

These standards are referred to as ‘harmonised’, an example being European standard BS EN 14682: Safety of children’s clothing. Cords and drawstrings on children’s clothing. Specifications. They give a presumption of conformity.

Where no published standards giving a presumption of conformity exist, the safety of a product will be assessed by taking into account:

  • voluntary European standards or standards drawn up in the UK
  • industry codes of good practice
  • the state of the art and technology
  • reasonable consumer expectations concerning safety

Producers therefore need to keep abreast of such matters as they relate to their business, such as amendments to harmonised standards, and technological and safety developments

Finally, the Regulations’ “reasonable consumer expectations concerning safety” will require some elements of risk assessment and putting quality systems into place to ensure products are made in compliance with specification.

Producer obligations

The main obligation on a producer is to supply a safe product.

As a producer you must also provide consumers with relevant information to enable them to:

  • assess the risk inherent in a product throughout the period of its use (where such risks are not immediately obvious)
  • take precautions against those risks

This means clear, legible durable warnings and instructions.

Producers must also allow for traceability by indicating on the product or its packaging:

  • the name and address of the producer
  • the product reference or, where applicable, the batch of products to which it belongs

Also, to enable you to become aware of risks the product might present you should:

  • sample test marketed products
  • investigate and if necessary keep a register of complaints concerning the safety of the product
  • keep distributors informed of the results of such monitoring where a product presents a risk or may present a risk

As a result of the monitoring undertaken where you discover that a product you are placing on the market or have already supplied poses risks to the consumer and is unsafe, you must immediately, in writing, notify your local trading standards service of:

  • that information
  • the action taken to prevent risk to the consumer
  • the identity of each Member State in which it has been marketed or supplied (this applies when the product is being, or has been, marketed or otherwise supplied to consumers outside the United Kingdom)

In the event of a serious risk the notification must include the following:

  • information enabling a precise identification of the product or batch of products in question
  • a full description of the risks that the product presents
  • all available information relevant for tracing the product
  • a description of the action undertaken to prevent risks to the consumer

The authorities will advise on actions aimed at removal of the risk and work with you on completing the notification.

Risk assessment is a procedure for identifying and assessing hazards, consisting of three steps:

  • identify the hazard that is intrinsic and determine how serious it is (injury scenario)
  • determine the probability of injury
  • combine the hazard with the probability to determine risk

Using the model the resultant risk level may be ‘serious’, ‘high’, ‘medium’ and ‘low’

In order to assist in assessing the risk the European Commission has produced guidance; the method is outlined, along with associated tables, in Commission Decision 2010/15/EU.

It is an offence under the GPSR not to fulfil these obligations.

Enforcement action by the authorities

Where producers have not fulfilled their obligations under these Regulations, enforcement authorities have access to a range of measures that can be employed in removing risk to consumer safety. These are known as safety notices. They are only used when voluntary actions have not removed the risk.

All parties concerned must, whenever feasible, be given an opportunity to submit their views before the adoption of a measure.

The measure chosen will be proportionate to the seriousness of the risk.

Suspension notices

Where there may have been a breach of the Regulations, these notices temporarily ban the placing on the market or the supply of a product while tests are undertaken and the results are awaited.

Requirement to mark / requirement to warn

These powers allow an enforcement authority to order the marking of a product with suitable warnings where it could pose risks in certain conditions, or require that specific warnings be given to certain persons considered to be at particular risk from a product (for example, young children, the elderly, etc).

Withdrawal notices

Enforcement authorities can issue a withdrawal notice to permanently prevent a person from further supplying a product that is believed to be dangerous where it is already on the market (if the voluntary action taken by producers and distributors is insufficient or unsatisfactory).

Recall notices

Where an enforcement authority has reasonable grounds for believing that a dangerous product has already been made available to consumers and voluntary action falls short of that considered necessary and sufficient to remove the risk, a last resort (that is, no other measure available to the authority will suffice) power to serve a recall notice exists. This will require the person it is served on to take such steps as are identified in the notice to organise the return of the product from consumers.

Where a disagreement exists between the authority and the producer over whether recall is necessary, businesses may require the authority to seek a reasoned opinion on the case for recall under a scheme operated by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators set up by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) specifically for the purpose. The cost of the scheme is to be met by the business that requested its use. Enforcement authorities are expected to take account of the advice received when coming to a final decision on whether or not to serve a recall notice.

There are codes of practice on recall, which may assist in determining the nature and scope of a recall action. Consumer Product Safety in Europe: Corrective Action Guideis available from the PROSAFE website. Additionally PAS 7100Code of practice on consumer product safety related recalls and other corrective actions – which can be downloaded for free from the BSI (British Standards Institution) website – is a guide on recalls and corrective actions and in particular gives good advice on preparing a product incident plan so when an incident happens your business is prepared.

Forfeiture & destruction

Where products are dangerous the enforcement authority may apply to the court for an order for their forfeiture and destruction. However, as an alternative to destruction the court may, on condition that any order to pay the costs and expenses of the proceedings is complied with, permit the supply of the product to a person for repair or reconditioning or for scrap.

Distributor obligations

Different obligations under the GPSR apply to retailers and wholesalers of consumer goods whose actions do not affect the safety of the goods (termed a ‘distributor’ under the Regulations).

Penalties

Failure to comply with trading standards law can lead to enforcement action and to sanctions, which may include a fine and/or imprisonment.

Key legislation

General Product Safety Regulations 2005

PLEASE NOTE

The information is intended for guidance only; only the courts can give you an authoritative interpretation of the law.

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National Trading Standards – Electrically assisted pedal cycles

This guidance is for England, Scotland & Wales

Electrically assisted pedal cycles (EAPCs) – which are also known as electrically power assisted cycles (EPACs) and e-bikes – have become increasingly popular in recent years as a means of transport. As they can be made available at affordable prices, concerns have been raised about their safety, particularly as they have been developed by enthusiasts, adapting ordinary pedal cycles and then supplying to consumers as a growing cottage industry.

When assessing the safety of a product a number of matters are taken into consideration and anyone in the supply chain, including retailers, can be held liable for the supply of unsafe products.

Product safety

The law requires that any product sold to consumers must be safe. Products should not present any unnecessary risk to anyone when used in a normal or reasonably foreseeable way. When assessing the safety of a product, the following must be taken into account:

  • packaging, labelling and instructions
  • effect of the product on other products with which it might be used
  • special needs of particular types of people, such as elderly people or those with disabilities

Where there are national, European or international standards relating to the product, these standards will also need to be taken into account. Not all personal light electric vehicles are approved for use in the same way. EAPCs are a particular type of motorised or electric vehicle designed for carrying persons and goods; they have their own set of regulations and standards governing their safety.

EAPCs are vehicles that are essentially two- or three-wheeled cycles with the following definitions:

  • cycle must be fitted with pedals that are capable of propelling it
  • continuous rated power of the electric motor must not exceed 250 W
  • electrical assistance must cut-off when the cycle reaches 15.5 m/h or 25 km/h

An EAPC that complies with the above is not considered to be a motor vehicle within the meaning of the Road Traffic Act 1988. As a result, it is not required to be registered and is not subject to vehicle excise duty (road tax), nor does it have to be insured as a motor vehicle. EAPCs must not be ridden by anyone under the age of 14.

There are essentially two other types of vehicle that are like EAPCs. One type is the ‘twist and go’ cycle that may have particular benefits for elderly and disabled users. These pedal cycles provide electrical assistance without the use of pedals and are defined in EU Regulation (EU) No 168/2013 on the approval and market surveillance of two- or three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles as L1e-A powered cycles. These cycles, provided that they do not exceed 1,000 W, but have a power assistance cut out of 15.5 m/h, do not need to be registered with DVLA, but still require type approval, which means that they have to pass certain safety standards. The other type are pedal assisted cycles that exceed the 25 km/h or 15.5 m/h, and are classed in EU Regulation (EU) No 168/2013 as L1e-B vehicles, commonly known as speed pedelecs or s-pedelecs. These are required to be registered with DVLA, taxed and insured to be legal for road use. Those with power assistance restricted to 45 km/h are in the same class as mopeds for the purposes of satisfying the requirements of DVLA and are not EAPCs.

The Department for Transport is aware that there are electric bikes limited to 15.5 m/h, but are fitted with off-road switches or modes that enable the bike’s motor to continue assisting at speeds beyond 15.5 m/h. These are also not EAPCs, and can only be used on roads if they are registered and comply with DVLA requirements.

Anyone in the supply chain, including retailers, can be held liable for the supply of unsafe products. In general, it is a criminal offence to supply unsafe products and you could also be liable to pay compensation for any injury or property-damage caused.

You should be prepared to carry out checks on the product and/or on your suppliers to ensure that they meet the appropriate product safety requirements. Doing nothing is not enough.

Special safety requirements

The Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles Regulations 1983 and the Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles (Amendment) Regulations 2015 apply to EAPCs designed for use on roads in the UK and the European Union. These Regulations are UK implementing Regulations that align the safety requirements with Regulation (EU) No 168/2013.

Manufacturers, their representatives, and importers have to ensure that, when their cycles, systems, components or separate technical components are placed on the market or are entering into service, they are manufactured and approved in accordance with the requirements set out in the Regulations.

Manufacturers are required to equip EAPCs with battery management systems / master control devices that prevent tampering or modification, so as not to prejudice safety by enabling the cycle’s performance to increase torque, power or maximum speed limits.

Anyone in the supply chain that modifies an incomplete cycle in such a way that it then qualifies for a different category of vehicle or cycle, with the consequence that the legal requirements for the vehicle have changed, is also responsible for the type approval and conformity necessary for that category. This includes the instructions given to consumers concerning the legal and safe use of the vehicle, in particular the type of personal protective equipment that may be appropriate.

To be ridden legally on the road, EAPCs must also:

  • have pedals that are capable of propelling it
  • the battery must not leak so as to be a source of danger
  • the power switch or control must default to ‘off’, requiring constant intervention from the rider in order to maintain power assistance
  • the power output and road speed must not exceed the limits set out in the Regulations.

The Regulations include requirements for EAPCs on brake construction and performance. The Regulations require EAPCs to be marked with the:

  • name of the manufacturer of the vehicle
  • nominal voltage of the battery of the vehicle
  • continuous rated output of the motor of the vehicle
  • maximum speed at which the motor can propel the vehicle

Particular safety concerns

The current European standard for EAPCs is BS EN 15194: Cycles. Electrically power assisted cycles. EPAC Bicycles. This standard was published for implementation from 28 February 2018 and is aligned to meet the regulatory requirements for construction and use as well as the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008

Mechanical safety

As well as strength tests, BS EN 15194 requires safety measures that relate to the general safety of EAPCs, including:

  • sharp edges
  • security and strength of safety-related fasteners
  • protrusions
  • brakes
  • steering
  • frames
  • front fork
  • wheels and wheel / tyre assembly
  • rims, tyres and tubes
  • front mudguard
  • pedals and pedal / crank drive system
  • drive-chain and drive belt
  • chain-wheel and belt-drive protective device
  • saddles and seat-posts
  • spoke protector
  • luggage carriers
  • road-test of a fully-assembled EAPC
  • lighting systems and reflectors
  • warning device
  • thermal hazards

Electrical compliance

  • the EAPC and battery pack must be designed in order to avoid risk of fire and mechanical deterioration resulting from abnormal use
  • during the test the EAPC and the batteries must not emit flames, molten metal or poisonous ignitable gas in hazardous amounts and any enclosure must show no damage that could impair compliance with BS EN 15194
  • safety and compatibility of the battery / charger combination must be ensured, according to the manufacturer’s specifications
  • the battery terminals must be protected against creating an accidental short circuit
  • appropriate care must be taken to ensure that the batteries are protected against overcharging
  • an appropriate overheating and short circuit protection device must be fitted
  • batteries and the charger unit must be labelled in order to be able to check their compatibility

Labelling requirements, instructions & warnings

Since the publication of the BS EN 15194 standard, EAPCs are required to be labelled with:

  • contact and address of the manufacturer or authorized representative
  • EAPC according to BS EN 15194
  • appropriate marking required by legislation (CE)
  • year of construction – that is, the year in which the manufacturing was completed (it is not possible to use a code)
  • cut off speed expressed as XX km/h
  • maximum continuous rated power XX kW
  • maximum permissible total weight – for example, marked near the seat post or handlebar
  • designation of series or type
  • individual serial number if any
  • mass if EAPCs mass is more than 25 kg
  • mass of the EAPCs in the most usual configuration

The frame must be marked with:

  • a successive frame number at a readily visible location – for example, near the pedal-crank, the seat-post or the handlebar
  • the name of the manufacturer of the complete EAPCs or the manufacturer’s representative and the reference to European Standard BS EN 15194
  • the type number or identification number

There are additional markings that are required if the EAPC is equipped with a coupling device for a trailer. There are also recommendations for safety-critical components to be marked with traceable identification. You should seek the advice of your local trading standards service if you need more information.

All markings should be clear and permanent in accordance with specifications set out in the standard.

As well as labelling requirements EAPCs must be supplied with a set of instructions for use relevant to the country in which the EAPC is destined to be supplied. The standard states that it is obligatory to deliver these in paper form, along with more detailed information to enable access for vulnerable people. Instructions for use should be available additionally in electronic form on demand. The standard also stipulates that the instructions for use cover all aspects of the safe use of the EAPC, including preparation and making adjustments for riding, maintenance, charging the batteries, and safe riding, as well as warnings related to wear-and-tear and impact damage.

Technical documentation

The Regulations also place an obligation for manufacturers and importers that place EAPCs on the market to:

  • ensure that the technical documentation is compiled and made available in accordance with the requirements
  • provide information as necessary to operate it safely, such as instructions for use, repair and maintenance
  • follow appropriate conformity assessment procedures as prescribed by the Regulations
  • ensure that there is an EC declaration of conformity undertaken by the manufacturer

The CE mark is placed on a product by the manufacturer as confirmation that it complies with all the relevant safety standards. All electrical products require CE marking in accordance with the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008, and (where relevant) the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016.

CE mark

The position for retailers

Retailers may not have the same degree of technical knowledge and expertise as a manufacturer or importer; however, they may be able to carry out certain checks on the safety of EAPCs.

Retailers should ensure that each vehicle is supplied with adequate written instructions. Reliance on verbal instructions only would make it very difficult to prove what you have said and may not reach the end user (if the EAPC is a gift, for example). Instructions for maintenance are particularly important to pass on in written format as they will be relied on for safe use for the entire expected life of the product. If there are parts of the instructions that have a particular relevance to safety, you may wish to highlight them.

You should also examine each vehicle before you supply it and carry out basic checks – for example:

  • all fixings, nuts and bolts are correctly and securely fastened
  • the frame is not damaged
  • the condition and inflation of tyres
  • brakes are working effectively
  • no sharp edges and entrapment hazards
  • ensure that the steering is aligned
  • ensure that you can supply full instructions for use

You may wish to offer advice on the appropriate safety equipment that needs to be used with the EAPC – for example, a cycle helmet and suitable clothing – and to offer to supply this equipment. Any such advice should also be included in the written instructions. It is worth noting that the safety equipment approved for use for an EAPC, such as ordinary cycle helmets, will be insufficient for the more powerful or off-road electrical cycles.

Other electrical cycles as well as EAPCs are supplied with rechargeable batteries and chargers. Currently chargers must be compliant with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016 as well as being compatible with the batteries. There are harmonised safety standards for both batteries and chargers that are currently applicable to all electrical cycles, as well as the 2017 standard that will apply to EAPCs after 28 February 2018.

Product quality

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, the goods you sell must be of satisfactory quality, fit for their purpose and as described. A consumer may expect to have to carry out some maintenance and replace some parts over time. EAPCs would be expected to be sufficiently robust to use on UK roads for a reasonable service life. Electric cycles intended to be ridden off-road should be robust enough to provide a reasonable service life over rough terrain.

If an electric cycle or EAPC fails prematurely, the consumer may be entitled to claim their losses from the retailer. This could include a repair, replacement, full or partial refund and/or compensation.

If the manufacturer offers a guarantee, remember that this does not take away a consumer’s rights. Your consumer may still have a claim against you even after the manufacturer’s guarantee has expired.

Legal & illegal use of EAPCs & other electrical cycles: information for your consumers

The law only permits those electrical cycles that fall into the classification of EAPCs to be used on the public highway. Electrical cycles suitable only for off-road use cannot be used on the public highway. Furthermore, under the Road Traffic Act 1988 (and related legislation) they cannot be used anywhere off-road, except on private land with the landowner’s permission.

Consumers may not be fully aware of the legal restrictions that apply to the use of off-road electrical cycles. They may well be disappointed if they buy an electrical cycle, expecting to be able to ride it on a local park or common, only to find out later that they cannot do so. It would therefore be advisable to check with your consumer, at least in general terms, what they wish to use the electrical cycle for, and only supply an electrical cycle or EAPC that is suitable for their intended use.

Under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs), retailers are obliged to disclose information that might affect a consumer’s decision to buy, even if the consumer does not ask for it. You should therefore make it clear to prospective customers that the electrical cycle or EAPC that they buy may have restrictions on its use or capability, and to advise them to only purchase one that meets their requirements.

Counterfeit cycles

Trading standards services are aware of a number of cases where pedal cycles are being converted into either EAPCs or off-road electric cycles. Some of these have been badged with the registered name of a manufacturer or even the name of a famous motorcycle manufacturer, even though that manufacturer had no involvement in their production.

If you are offered the chance to supply such vehicles, you should check with the manufacturer’s UK representatives to find out whether the vehicles are genuine, and whether you need their consent to keep the badge or remove it.

Anyone supplying counterfeit cycles should be reported to trading standards. The products might also be dangerous.

Outside the scope of this guide

If you are importing EAPCs or other electric cycles into the EU, to sell at retail or wholesale, you may need to take specialist advice from your local trading standards service, an accredited test house or a notified body that can test this type of product.

Penalties

Failure to comply with trading standards law can lead to enforcement action and to sanctions, which may include a fine and/or imprisonment.

Key legislation

Road Traffic Act 1988Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles Regulations 1983

Pedal Cycle (Construction and Use) Regulations 1983

Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008

Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008

EU Regulation (EU) No 168/2013 on the approval and market surveillance of two- or three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles

Consumer Rights Act 2015

Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles (Amendment) Regulations 2015

Pedal Cycles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2015

Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016

PLEASE NOTE

The information is intended for guidance only; only the courts can give you an authoritative interpretation of the law.

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Trading Standards and Consumer Protection Legislation – Labelling of Prepacked Food

This guidance is for England

This guidance relates to prepacked food only.

‘Prepacked food’ is defined in EU Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers as “… food and the packaging into which it was put before being offered for sale, whether such packaging encloses the food completely or only partially, but in any event in such a way that the contents cannot be altered without opening or changing the packaging …”.

The definition of prepacked does not cover food packed on the sales premises at the consumer’s request; nor does it cover food that is sold from the premises on which it was packed or from a mobile stall or vehicle used by the packer (referred to as ‘prepacked for direct sale’).

Mandatory information

The following information is mandatory on prepacked foods:

  • the name of the food
  • an ingredient list
  • information relating to allergenic ingredients
  • quantitative ingredient declarations (QUID)
  • a nutritional declaration
  • durability date marking
  • a net quantity declaration
  • the name and address of the manufacturer
  • storage instructions (where required)
  • instructions for use (where required)
  • origin marking (if the label would be misleading without it)
  • alcoholic strength (for beverages containing more than 1.2% by volume)

Presentation

Mandatory information must be clear, legible and indelible. It must be presented on the packaging, on a label attached to the packaging or on a label visible through the packaging.

Mandatory information cannot be hidden in any way; therefore having the information on parts of the packaging that need to be peeled up, unfolded, are only visible when the product is open, etc is not permitted for mandatory information. You can still use these types of packaging but none of the mandatory information can be on them.

Mandatory information must be large enough to be legible so there is a minimum font size of an x-height of 1.2 mm that can be used, which means that the lower-case x for whatever font size you are using cannot be smaller than 1.2 mm. This is approximately font size 8 in Times New Roman but will differ from font to font.

In the case of very small products (those whose largest surface is less than 80 cm2) the x-height is reduced to 0.9 mm (approximately font size 6 in Times New Roman).

Mandatory information must be indelible, so you must use ink that will not run or rub off. This is especially important when you are writing use-by and best-before dates by hand; choose a pen that will not run.

All mandatory information must be in English although you can include labelling in other languages in addition to English labelling.

Voluntary information

It is common for manufacturers to include large amounts of information that is not required by law (descriptions of the taste, for example); this is referred to as ‘voluntary information’.

You can include as much voluntary information as you please, provided it is not false or misleading; however, you cannot do so at the expense of mandatory information. If you find that you have no room for mandatory information (or would have to use a too-small font size or not use the required format) because you have given label space over to voluntary information then you will need to either remove or reduce the voluntary information.

Allergenic ingredients

You will need to draw consumers’ attention to any allergenic ingredients that are present in the food.

Durability date

Most prepacked food will require a durability date; either a use-by or a best-before date depending on the nature of the food and how long it can be expected to stay edible.

Name & address

Prepacked food is required to bear a name and address of a food business operator (FBO) based in the European Union (EU) that takes responsibility for the food.

The appropriate name and address is normally that of the manufacturer but could also be that of an importer.

If the product is marketed under the name of a food business other than the manufacturer then the name and address of that business should appear on the product. Therefore, if you manufacture goods for another business to sell under their name then you will need to put their details on the label.

The food business under whose name the food is marketed is the business that is ultimately responsible for the food.

The name must be that of the appropriate legal entity (sole trader, limited company, etc) and the address must be a postal address in the EU that is sufficiently detailed for legal documents to reach the business.

Depending on the size of the business or location (on an industrial estate, for example) it may be sufficient to have just a postcode; alternatively a full address may be required.

You may provide a supplementary email address / web address / telephone number, but these must be in addition to a postal address.

If you are a small trader manufacturing from home and do not wish to use your home address you may alternatively use:

  • a Post Office Box (PO box)
  • the address of a legal professional in your employ (solicitor, accountant, etc) with their permission. You should state the name of the food business followed by the address in question

Net quantity

All prepacked foods (other than a few exemptions covered below) are required to have a net quantity indication.

‘Net quantity’ means the weight of food (or volume in the case of liquids), less the weight of the packaging.

The indication must be given in kilograms or grams for solids, and in litres, centilitres or millilitres for liquids (metric indication).

The net quantity must be in the same field of vision as the name of the product and the alcoholic strength where appropriate (this means the consumer must be able to hold the product so that all the information is visible at the same time).

You may provide a supplementary net quantity in imperial measurements (pounds, ounces, fluid ounces, etc) but the indication must not be given greater prominence than the metric net quantity.

Multipacks

If a prepacked product contains multiple identical prepacked products (a multipack of crisps, for example) you must state the net quantity of the individual product and how many products the pack contains – for example, ‘Ready salted crisps’ ‘6 x 25 g’.

If the number of products and the net quantity printed on the individual product is visible through the packaging then this does not apply.

Products containing multiple different items

If a product contains multiple items, none of which are intended to be sold separately, you should declare the combined net weight and state how many individual packages are in the product – for example, a home baking kit: ‘300 g product contains: sponge mix, icing mix, six cupcake wrappers’.

Products in liquid

If the product is in a liquid medium (fruit juice, water, brine, etc) that needs to be removed prior to consuming the food then you must also state the drained weight of the product.

For example:

  • ‘Tuna chunks in brine’ ‘160 g / 120 g’
  • ‘Tuna chunks in brine’ ‘160 g – drained weight 120 g’

Glazed products

If the product is in a glaze (ice, sugar, salt, etc) then the net quantity is the weight without the glaze.

Exemptions

The following do not need a net quantity declaration:

  • goods that are subject to considerable losses in their volume or mass and are sold by number or weighed in the presence of the purchaser
  • products with a net quantity of less than 5 g or 5 ml (although herbs and spices do require a net quantity declaration)
  • goods normally sold by number and the number can be seen and counted from the outside, or the number is printed on the outside

Storage instructions

You will only need to include storage instructions if they are necessary to ensure that the food continues to be edible and maintains its quality until the durability date that you have put on the food – for example, ‘Keep refrigerated’, ‘Store in a cool dry place’, ‘Refrigerate after opening’.

Storage instructions should be close to either the durability date or instructions on where the durability date can be found – for example, ‘For best-before see base of pack – refrigerate after opening’.

Instructions for use

You will only need to include instructions for use if the consumer would find it difficult to use the product correctly without them; examples include cooking times for ready meals that need to be cooked in a microwave and mixing instructions for powdered products.

There are no specific requirements but instructions for use should be clear and not misleading.

Country or place of origin

Origin labelling will only be required in the following circumstances.

Consumers might be misled if you don’t state the origin.
The whole product must be considered when deciding whether the label is misleading. Examples include:

  • descriptions – for example, ‘Traditional Italian recipe’ may mislead consumers into thinking the product originated in Italy
  • designs – for example, a St George cross may mislead consumers into thinking the product originated in England
  • colours – for example, red white and blue stripes may mislead consumers into thinking the product originated in France

If the label is potentially misleading you must state the country or place of origin of the product – for example, ‘Product of England’.

Where a country or place of origin has been named but the primary ingredient is from somewhere else.
‘Primary ingredient’ means an ingredient that makes up 50% or more of the product or is usually associated with the product by the consumer – for example, ‘Swedish meatballs made with British pork and beef’; in this case the description ‘Swedish’ relates to the recipe rather than the origin of the meat.

In cases such as this you must either:

  • state the country or place of origin of the primary ingredient
    … or
  • state that the country or place or origin of the primary ingredient is different to the origin of the product

For example:

  • ‘Swedish meatballs’ ‘Made using UK pork and beef’
  • ‘Swedish meatballs’ ‘Meat produced in the EU’
  • ‘Swedish meatballs’ ‘Using meat produced in countries other than Sweden’

Where the primary ingredient is sourced from multiple countries you do not need to list them all but any statement you make must not be misleading – for example, ‘Product of various countries’ or ‘Product of meat from EU countries’.

Other specific labelling requirements

Specific information must be given for any product:

  • packaged in a protective atmosphere
  • containing glycyrrhizinic acid or its ammonium salt (products containing liquorice)
  • with a high caffeine content
  • containing added phytosterols, phytosterol esters, phytostanols or phytostanol esters

Please refer to annex III of EU Regulation (EU) 1169/2011 (see link in ‘Key legislation’below).

Selling food over the internet

If you sell food over the internet you will need to provide full prepacked labelling information on both the website and the product.

The information should appear on the same page as the product and be available to the consumer before they make a purchase.

You do not have to include the durability date.

Penalties

Failure to comply with trading standards law can lead to enforcement action and to sanctions, which may include a fine and/or imprisonment.

Key legislation

Food Safety Act 1990

EU Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers

Food Information Regulations 2014

PLEASE NOTE

The information is intended for guidance only; only the courts can give you an authoritative interpretation of the law.

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Trading Standards and Consumer Protection Legislation – Herbal Medicine

This guidance is for England & Wales

Many traditional herbal products (such as Chinese herbal products) are popular with consumers who are looking for products with health benefits. Such products are often on the borderline between regulated categories of goods such as medicines, foods and cosmetics. As different legal requirements apply to these different product types it is important that you are clear about the categories your products fall into. The legal requirements governing these products are enforced mainly by trading standards services and by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

There are specific requirements for herbal remedies, which are classed as ‘medicines’ and must be safe. You may also be selling food items, cosmetic products or animal products, all of which have their own legal requirements.

Whether or not your products fall within these categories, it is important to ensure that consumers are not misled about the extent or existence of products’ health benefits, and there are some restrictions on claims. There are further requirements in relation to claims made about the product, quantity markings, pricing and consumer rights.

Medicines

Herbal remedies are medicinal products. They must have a marketing authorisation (or a product licence) unless they meet certain exemptions that allow them to be sold as unlicensed herbal medicines. To meet the terms of the exemptions products must be solely plant-based, have no written medicinal indications for use and must not have a trade name. Herbal remedies, even if exempt from licensing, still have to be safe and be labelled in accordance with the Medicines Act 1968.

The primary decision as to whether or not a product is a medicinal product is for the MHRA to make. If you have any doubts about whether the products that you sell are medicines or are exempt from licensing you should contact MHRA.

Animal products

Strict import controls exist regarding products of animal origin. Products of animal origin include all types of meat and meat products (including poultry), all types of fish and shellfish and products made from them (like oyster sauce), eggs and egg products, wild game, honey, and dairy products. It is recommended that you only purchase food products of animal origin from reputable suppliers that can prove that the food has been legally imported into the UK via proper commercial channels. If you wish to import animal products, your local authority environmental health service should be able to advise you on the current legal situation.

If officers believe an animal product has been imported illegally into the UK, they may take it away for destruction or ask you not to use it until you can prove it has been imported legally. A sample may also be taken of the item. You could be prosecuted for importing animal products illegally.

Some traditional remedies have been found to contain both animal and plant parts from endangered species, in contravention of legislation enforced by a number of bodies, including the police. Should you have any concerns about ingredients, detailed information on endangered species is available on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) website. CITES’s main aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Alternatively, you could seek advice from the wildlife crime unit of your local police force or the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) on 03000 200301.

Food

The definition of food includes any food, drink or food supplement that is part of the diet. Anything that is not a medicinal product, and is eaten or taken as a drink, is a food. Many of the products you sell are likely to be legally classed as food, particularly prepacked items such as herbal teas.

The Food Safety Act 1990, EU Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers, the Food Information Regulations 2014 and the Food Information (Wales) Regulations 2014 govern, amongst other things, labelling, ingredients and quality. The Act creates specific offences for contaminants in food, false descriptions and misleading claims.

All foods and food supplements must be labelled with certain information in English. Where the food is sold loose, such as Chinese herbs from jars, or is packed by you in the shop for direct sale to your customers, the following details are required:

  • a food name that customers can understand, indicating the true nature of the food
  • a statement, where applicable, that the product or ingredients have been irradiated or genetically modified
  • a declaration of the presence of any of the 14 specified allergens

Where the food is ‘prepacked’, a number of labelling requirements need to be fulfilled

Specific guidance on food supplements can be found on the GOV.UK website.

The food label may also make claims about the nutritional properties of the food – for example, ‘low fat’ – and/or the potential health benefits consuming the food may have. These claims are controlled by EU Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods, the Nutrition and Health Claims (England) Regulations 2007 and the Nutrition and Health Claims (Wales) Regulations 2007.

If the food (or any advertising for the food) makes a claim that consuming it can treat or be a remedy for cancer, or it gives any advice in connection with the treatment of cancer, this is an offence under the Cancer Act 1939.

Cosmetic products

EU Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 on cosmetic products defines a cosmetic product as “any substance or mixture intended to be placed in contact with the external parts of the human body (epidermis, hair system, nails, lips and external genital organs) or with the teeth and the mucous membranes of the oral cavity with a view exclusively or mainly to cleaning them, perfuming them, changing their appearance, protecting them, keeping them in good condition or correcting body odours”. It does not apply to medicinal products, medical devices or biocidal products.

There are particular requirements regarding the importation, manufacture, packaging and labelling of cosmetic products. For further information see ‘Cosmetic products’.

Misleading & illegal claims

In addition to the specific controls in food legislation outlined above there are additional controls that apply more generally.

Any claims made about a product must be true and not misleading. This includes oral, written or pictorial claims. In addition, you are required to disclose any adverse information you know about a product if an average consumer would need to know this information to make an informed choice – for example, if it is known to be ineffective for the purposes for which it is commonly bought.

These requirements, which come under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs), apply to all products, including but not limited to, medicines, foods, food supplements and cosmetics.

Additionally, as worldwide efforts to control the exploitation of endangered species increase, manufacturers have been known to include illegal ingredients (for example, tiger and bear parts) in products but to remove any references to these ingredients from packaging and advertisements. These manufacturers rely on their customers’ knowledge and experience of the products’ contents instead. Under the CPRs it is illegal to hide the fact that a product cannot legally be sold.

Product safety

All consumer products (including food and medicines) must be safe.

Products must be sold to customers with appropriate safety information / warnings in English. Such information might include, for example, dosage instructions and possible side effects. They might also include classes of persons for whom the product is unsuitable – for example, pregnant women, children and persons suffering from a particular disorder, such as high blood pressure.

You are strongly advised to obtain products from reputable suppliers and to retain any documentation that you receive from them, such as invoices.

Weights & measures

Prepacked goods, such as food / food supplements / cosmetics, all legally require an accurate quantity marking. This should typically be the weight, volume or number of items in the package. Metric quantities must be used.

If you are selling any products loose (from bulk) by reference to weight, you must use approved weighing equipment bearing appropriate stamps or stickers. Sales must be by reference to metric quantities.

Prices

There is a general requirement to display prices for retail goods on offer; however, if the goods can only be obtained as a result of a service (such as a consultation) there is no need to price the goods. If your services have a ‘fixed price’ then you must provide your customers with price information (using a price list, for example).

Prices you display must be accurate. It is an unfair commercial practice to give false or deceptive information about the price of goods, to omit material information about the price (such as compulsory additional charges or taxes) or if the value of any ‘saving’ displayed on a special offer was exaggerated.

Trade associations

You may also wish to seek advice from a trade or practitioner organisation, such as those in the list below.

Please note that the inclusion of an organisation in the list does not imply any approval or warranty as to the standing or capability of that organisation by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.

British Herbal Medicine Association

Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine

Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture (UK)

Penalties

Failure to comply with trading standards law can lead to enforcement action and to sanctions, which may include a fine and/or imprisonment.

Key legislation

Cancer Act 1939

Medicines Act 1968

Food Safety Act 1990

EU Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods

Nutrition and Health Claims (England) Regulations 2007

Nutrition and Health Claims (Wales) Regulations 2007

Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008

EU Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers

Food Information Regulations 2014

Food Information (Wales) Regulations 2014

PLEASE NOTE

The information is intended for guidance only; only the courts can give you an authoritative interpretation of the law.

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Trading Standards and Consumer Protection Legislation – Cosmetics

This guidance is for England, Scotland & Wales

Cosmetics are subject to legal definition and products used solely as medicines are excluded. EU Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 on cosmetic products makes it an offence to supply a cosmetic product that may cause damage to human health or that contains specific restricted or prohibited substances.

It is also an offence to supply an incorrectly labelled cosmetic product. The labelling requirements include the name and address of the manufacturer / importer, the ingredients, durability marking, function and precautions.

Finally, it is an offence not to undertake certain safety assessments and not to compile technical documentation.

There are also restrictions on animal testing of products.

The EU Regulation is enforced by trading standards in the UK by the Cosmetic Products Enforcement Regulations 2013.

What is a cosmetic product?

EU Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 (referred to in this guide as ‘the Regulation’) defines a cosmetic product as: “any substance or mixture intended to be placed in contact with the external parts of the human body (epidermis, hair system, nails, lips and external genital organs) or with the teeth and the mucous membranes of the oral cavity with a view exclusively or mainly to cleaning them, perfuming them, changing their appearance, protecting them, keeping them in good condition or correcting body odours“.

The Regulation relates only to cosmetic products and not to medicinal products, medical devices or biocidal products.

A substance or mixture intended to be ingested, inhaled, injected or implanted into the human body is not a cosmetic product.

What about aromatherapy products?

These can be medicines, cosmetic products, or neither of these, depending on their intended use. If they are not medicines or cosmetic products, they are governed by the General Product Safety Regulations 2005.

Please ask your local trading standards service if you require more guidance on aromatherapy products.

Main provisions

It is an offence for a responsible person to supply a cosmetic product that may cause damage to human health when applied under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use, taking into account:

  • its presentation and in particular, its form, odour, colour, appearance, packaging, labelling, volume or size should not endanger health and safety of consumers due to confusion with foodstuffs
  • its labelling
  • any instructions for its use and disposal
  • any other information provided by the responsible person

The responsible person can be one of the following:

  • the manufacturer within the EU (or they can nominate someone else in writing to be the responsible person)
  • a person in the EU designated by written mandate by a manufacturer that is outside the EU, but has the product manufactured in the EU
  • a distributor, where they place a cosmetic product on the market under their name or trademark, or modify a product already placed on the market in such a way that compliance with the applicable requirements may be affected – for example, repackaging or relabelling
  • the importer (established in the EU who places a product from a country outside the Union on the Union market)

Rules on animal testing

It is an offence to test a finished cosmetic product or an ingredient on an animal in order that the product may comply with the requirements of the Regulation.

The Regulation also restricts the supply of cosmetic products whose final formulation, or any ingredient or combination of ingredients, have been tested on animals.

Where a claim is made that a cosmetic product has not been tested on animals, this must be correct. In particular, the manufacturer or supplier must not have tested or commissioned tests on animals of the finished product, its prototype or any of their ingredients. The cosmetic product must also not contain any ingredients that have been tested on animals by others for the purpose of developing new cosmetic products.

Composition

The rules on what may and may not be used as an ingredient, and the rules on restricted use and special precautions, are too detailed to be included here. If you require this information, you should make reference to the annexes of the Regulation (see ‘Key legislation’ below for link) or you should seek specialist advice.

Marking / labelling

The following information must be given on the packaging or labelling:

Name & address

The name and address of the responsible person established within a Member State must be on the container and the packaging. Where the product is manufactured outside the European Economic Area (EEA), the country of origin must also be given.

Durability

Where a cosmetic product has a minimum durability of 30 months or less, it must be marked on the container and the packaging with a best-before date or the symbol shown below.

Cosmetics products timer symbol

The indication must be in the form ‘Best used before the end of’, followed by the date (day / month / year, or month / year) or an indication of where the date appears on the packaging. If any particular conditions must be observed to guarantee the stated durability, these must also be described.

Where a product has a shelf life of more than 30 months, it must be marked with the symbol shown below together with an indication (in months, or years and months) of the period after opening for which the product can be used without harming the consumer.

Cosmetics products PAO symbol

Precautions

Precautions to be observed in use, as shown in the annexes of the Regulation, must be printed on the label. Special precautionary information on cosmetic products for professional use, such as in hairdressing, must appear on the container and packaging.

Batch code

The batch number of manufacture or the reference for identifying the goods.

Function

If not otherwise obvious from design and packaging.

Ingredients

The package in which the cosmetic product is supplied must bear a list of ingredients, headed ‘Ingredients’ (see note below), in descending order of weight, determined at the time the ingredient was added to the product.

All cosmetic products marketed in any part of the EU have to be labelled with a list of their ingredients, irrespective of the channel of distribution. This requirement also applies to imported products, professional products, free samples, tester samples, multi-component products, products sold by mail order or via the internet, and products provided in hotels and other public facilities.

You do not need to include any of the following as ingredients:

  • impurities in the raw materials
  • materials used in the preparation of, but not present in, the final product
  • materials used as solvents or carriers for perfumes and aromatic compositions

Perfume and aromatic compositions and their raw materials must be referred to as ‘perfume’ (see note below) or ‘aroma’ unless a more specific indication of their presence is required in annex III of the Regulation.

Ingredients in concentrations of less than 1% may be listed in any order after those of 1% or more.

Colouring agents may be listed in any order after the other ingredients. For decorative cosmetics marketed in various colours, all colouring agents in the range may be listed so long as the words ‘may contain’ or the symbol ‘+/-‘ is also used.

The ingredient name must be that listed in the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) or, if no such name is listed, one of the following:

  • chemical name
  • European Pharmacopoeia name
  • International Non-proprietary Name (INN), as recommended by the World Health Organisation
  • European Inventory of Existing Commercial chemical Substances (EINECS), International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), or Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) identification reference
  • colour index number

database of INCI names is available on the Europa website.

All ingredients present in the form of nanomaterials must be clearly indicated in the list of ingredients. The names of such ingredients must be followed by the word ‘nano’ in brackets.

There is a procedure detailed in the Regulation that, subject to agreement, allows the confidentiality of some ingredients to be maintained.

For consistency across the EEA, the following conventions have been agreed by Cosmetics Europe (the European cosmetics industry trade association). Firstly, the word ‘ingredients’ should be given in capital letters, and secondly, the word ‘perfume’ should be replaced by ‘parfum’. Although these conventions do not have the force of law, their use will be accepted by UK enforcement authorities. If you are exporting cosmetic products to other EEA countries, you should confirm that the authorities in those countries also accept this convention.

Additional information

Additional information must be given where certain ingredients, such as preservatives and UV filters, are present. This information is specified in annexes III, IV, V, and VI of the Regulation.

Presentation

All required information must be visible, indelible and easily legible. The ingredients list must be given in a language that is easily understood by the consumer. All of the other information must be in English and can be supplemented by other languages.

There is one set of rules about presentation for ingredients lists and another set for the other information.

Ingredients list

The ingredients list must appear on the packaging or, if it is impossible to do so or there is no packaging, on the container. If the product is sold loose, the ingredients list can be given on the container in which the product is exposed for supply or on a notice. If this is not possible, the list can be given on a leaflet, label, tag, tape or card enclosed with or attached to the product, along with an indication referring the consumer to it (either by way of abbreviated information or the ‘hand and book’ symbol below). For small products such as soap and bath balls, a notice can be used instead of a leaflet, label, etc.

Hand and book symbol

Other information

The other information must normally appear on both the container and the packaging. However, if it is not possible for the batch code to appear on the container, it can appear on the packaging only. Similarly, where there are practical constraints, the conditions for use may appear on a leaflet, label, tag, tape or card enclosed with or attached to the product, again with an indication referring the consumer to it.

In the case of loose cosmetic products other than soap, all of the information must be given on the container in which the product is exposed for supply, or on a notice in immediate proximity to the container.

The requirements on the ‘responsible person’

The manufacturer of cosmetic products must comply with good manufacturing practice. Compliance with good manufacturing practice can be presumed where the manufacture is in accordance with the relevant harmonised standards, the references of which have been published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

In order to demonstrate that a cosmetic product is safe the responsible person must ensure that the cosmetic product has undergone a safety assessment and that a cosmetic product safety report is produced. This safety assessment must be carried out by a person in possession of a diploma or other evidence of formal qualifications awarded on completion of a university course of theoretical and practical study in pharmacy, toxicology, medicine or a similar discipline, or a course recognised as equivalent by a Member State.

Where a cosmetic product is supplied or manufactured in the UK, the responsible person is required to keep certain product information at the registered office address or the address detailed on the product. This information must be easily accessible to the nominated authorities, generally the responsible person’s local trading standards service, and can be requested in the case of medical emergency. The information must be in English or another language easily understood by the nominated authority.

The product information file (PIF) must include all of the following:

  • the qualitative and quantitative composition of the product. For perfume or perfume compositions in the product, you are only required to keep the name, code number and supplier identity. Qualitative information for all composites, and the quantitative information in relation to dangerous substances, must also be made easily available to the general public
  • the physico-chemical and microbiological specifications of the raw materials and the finished product, and the purity and microbiological control criteria of the cosmetic product
  • the method of manufacture, which must be in accordance with good manufacturing practice
  • an assessment of safety for human health of the finished product, including the criteria as stipulated in the Regulation. There are additional criteria where the product is intended for use on children under three years old or exclusively for use in external intimate hygiene (see above)
  • the name and address of the person or persons – with the minimum qualifications as detailed in the Regulation – who carried out the assessments
  • existing data on the undesirable effects on human health resulting from use of the product. This information must also be made easily available to the general public
  • evidence to justify any claims made by the product
  • data on any animal testing performed by the manufacturer, their agents or suppliers, relating to the development or safety evaluation of the product or its ingredients

Prior to placing the cosmetic product on the market the responsible person must submit the following information to the European Commission through the Cosmetic Products Notification Portal (CPNP):

  • the category of cosmetic product and its name or names, enabling its specific identification
  • the name and address of the responsible person where the product information file is made readily accessible in the country of origin
  • in the case of import into the Member State in which the cosmetic product is to be placed on the market, the contact details of a physical person to contact in the case of necessity
  •  the presence of substances in the form of nanomaterials and their identification
  • the frame formulation allowing for prompt and appropriate medical treatment in the event of difficulties

When the cosmetic product is placed on the market, the responsible person must notify to the Commission the original labelling, and, where reasonably legible, a photograph of the corresponding packaging.

Responsible persons who consider or have reason to believe that a cosmetic product that they have placed on the market is not in conformity with this Regulation must immediately take the corrective measures necessary to bring that product into conformity, withdraw it or recall it, as appropriate. Where the cosmetic product presents a risk to human health, responsible persons must immediately inform their local trading standards service giving details, in particular, of the non-compliance and of the corrective measures taken.

Penalties

Failure to comply with trading standards law can lead to enforcement action and to sanctions, which may include a fine and/or imprisonment. For more information please see ‘Trading standards: powers, enforcement & penalties’.

Key legislation

EU Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 on cosmetic products

Cosmetic Products Enforcement Regulations 2013

PLEASE NOTE

The information is intended for guidance only; only the courts can give you an authoritative interpretation of the law.

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