Recently we have seen a lot of products on the market that resemble food stuffs and this has sparked discussion about the potential of these products to mislead and their acceptability under EU law.
The European Cosmetic Regulation 1223/2009 states; the presentation of a cosmetic product and particular its form, odour, colour, appearance, packaging, labelling, volume or size should not endanger the health and safety of consumers due to confusion with foodstuff.
The definition of food is any food for human consumptions, including drinks, chewing gums, other products of a like nature and use plus articles and substances used as ingredients in the preparation of food or drink.
The comments in the Cosmetic Regulation mirror those in The Food Imitations (Safety) Regulation 1989 implementing the EC Dangerous Imitations Directive, which made it an offence to supply any product which has a form, colour, odour, appearance, packaging, labelling, volume or size which is likely to cause people (in particular children) to confuse it with food and in consequence place them in their mouths or suck them.
It is clear that many products fall under the scope of these Regulations, and they do apply to products that have no intention to mislead. The Regulations prohibit only the sale of imitation food stuffs which may cause death or personal injury, the definition of personal injury includes non-permanent injury including vomiting.
It is best to be cautious when dealing with food-like products and make sure your products cannot be interpreted as foods.