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Drop-in inspections of cosmetic product manufacturers or importers should be allowed says TSI

Trading standards services should still be able to carry out inspections without notification when investigating a potentially rogue manufacturer or importer of cosmetic products, insists the Trading Standards Institute (TSI).

This was the view of TSI in its response to a consultation document ‘Enforcing the Regulation on Cosmetic Products’ from BIS (The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills).

Christine Heemskerk, TSI Lead Officer for Consumer and Product Safety, said that in most cases, within cosmetic product market surveillance, it would be good practice to adhere to the requirement to give notice of an inspection.

But she added: "Market surveillance at distributor level would usually be reactive, i.e. investigating a complaint when a trading standards services would require invoices to trace the origin of the product. Then it is imperative that the information is received as quickly as possible in order that the appropriate action can be undertaken fast – such as removing the product from the shelves to ensure consumers are not further affected. In these circumstances a visit without notice would be necessary.

"Also when investigating a potentially rogue manufacturer/importer, where intelligence has been received, or to check that retailers are not supplying ‘out of date’ cosmetics - will necessitate 'on the spot inspections,'. Prior notification of an inspection may result in the accused removing all the 'out of date' stock prior to the visit."

TSI also stated in its consultation response that it welcomes a proposed increase in fines to reflect the seriousness of potential hazards posed by unsafe cosmetics and the lack of appropriate checks and balances carried out by ‘responsible persons to ensure consumer safety.’

The full TSI consultation response is available on the TSI website at