02 Sep 2021 --- The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) has announced that it is adding an extra year to the transition period for the adoption of the UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) mark. As a result, cosmetic and personal care companies will now have until 1 January 2023 to apply the mark which will become mandatory on that date.
Click to EnlargeSource: UK Goverment.The UKCA mark is a symbol that certifies a specific product has been assessed for conformity according to UK safety standards. It applies to products placed on the market in Great Britain and substitutes the CE mark, which is the European symbol. “Businesses will have more time to meet their legal obligations given the continued impact of the pandemic,” the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy said.
“The UKCA mark came into force on 1st January 2021, however there are transitional provisions in place to ensure companies have enough time to bring their products into compliance with this requirement,” explains a spokesperson for the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA), which provides representation for companies making, supplying and selling cosmetic and personal care products in the UK.
The new date at the start of 2023 is “the final deadline” the UK government says. The extension is a reflection of what the Department details in its recent communication as the result of “the government’s extensive and ongoing engagement with business groups and reflects the issues businesses have raised, particularly given the impact of the pandemic”.
Applying the mark
The UKCA mark is only applicable to aerosols in the cosmetics industry. “In Europe, the CE mark is only required for certain product categories that are within the scope of the New Approach Directives, which provide health, safety and environmental protection to certain product categories (e.g., electricals, toys, aerosols),” says CTPA’s spokesperson.
In Europe, cosmetic products have their own specific legislation, the EU Cosmetic Products Regulation 1223/2009, that already ensures safety compliance. Therefore cosmetic products follow their own specific legislation rather than the New Approach Directives.
Commenting on what this means for the application of the UKCA mark in cosmetics and personal care products, the spokesperson for CTPA explains: “This framework has been maintained in the UK, so non-aerosol cosmetic products do not require a UKCA mark because they already have a UK Cosmetics Regulation that ensures their safety.”
Click to Enlarge“The situation is slightly different for aerosols in general, as these are regulated by a European Directive, therefore aerosols in the EU fall into the scope of the New Approach Directive,” notes CTPA spokesperson. This framework has been implemented in the UK with the domestic UK Aerosol Dispensers Regulation, and this includes the scope of the UKCA marking.
Schedule 13 of the Product Safety and Metrology document, which sets out the UK Aerosols Regulation, detailed in its latest amendments - Product Safety and Metrology etc. (Amendment etc.) (UK(NI) Indication) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 - that the UKCA mark would be added to all aerosol products, including cosmetic aerosols.
“Therefore, all aerosols (including cosmetic aerosols) must be labelled with the CE or UKCA marking according to the market,” says CTPA. Cosmetic aerosols are pressurised containers that need to meet specific technical safety requirements beyond those of non-pressurised cosmetic products.
“It is important to highlight that the conformity regime for aerosols is a self-certification system, and does not involve third party assessment as is the case for other CE or UKCA marked goods,” specifies CTPA.
Detailing what the implementation of the UKCA mark requires personal care brands to do, CTPA’s spokesperson explains: “Personal care brands who sell cosmetic aerosols must comply with the requirements of both the UK Cosmetics Regulation and the UK Aerosol Dispensers Regulations; the latter provides for aerosols to be UKCA marked and this symbol must therefore be affixed to the dispenser of a cosmetic aerosol by 1st January 2023.”
By Natasha Spencer-Jolliffe, BPC Insights Senior Journalist