Fine Print: Weighty Matters
A look at the European Union’s requirements for weight/volume claims.By Holly C. Young and Marcus Tirado
Hirschhorn + Young Graphics
Every country regulates labeling claims on beauty product packages—but not always in the same way. Many regulations tend to be a nightmare for package designers working on a package for the global marketplace. One of the challenges is over what would seem like a minor regulation—the weight/volume claim listed on packaging. In the United States, weight/volume claims must follow various regulations for size, placement, and unit of measurement. But how do weight/volume claims differ in other parts of the world? Let’s take a look at the European Union’s regulations.
Regulations for specific type size, use of capital letters, and placement are all part of the regulations in the EU, and are somewhat different than in the United States. According to an EU Council Directive, the weight/volume claim (which is called content declaration in the EU) represents the “nominal content at the time of packaging given by weight or volume.” The mandatory unit of measurement for the EU is metric. While the standard U.S. unit of measurement can be displayed, the metric declaration must be predominant on packages sold in the EU.
The EU also imposes a weight or volume control system for all weight/volume claims displayed on packaging. Compliance with this system is signified by a specialized “e” symbol printed alongside the weight/volume claim.
There are also exceptions to EU weight/volume claim regulations. The most significant is that packaging containing less than 5 grams or 5 milliliters of product, free samples, and single-application products are exempt from most of the regulations noted above.
Reference: EU Cosmetic Directive 76/211/EEC-95/17/EC-2007/45/EC.
If there is a specific labeling topic you would like to see covered in a future Fine Print column, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Authors
Deciphering the fine print of labeling regulations can be a challenge for any beauty brand. The authors of CPC Packaging’s new Fine Print column are here to help.
Holly C. Young is president of Hirschhorn + Young Graphics, an award-winning design firm that provides production art and packaging design services for the beauty industry. The firm places an emphasis on U.S., international, and over-the-counter (OTC) graphic regulatory compliance.
Young is the coauthor of Simplified FDA/OTC Label Requirements Guidelines. She is a favorite speaker at many trade association events such as HBA and Cosmoprof North America.
Marcus Tirado, regulatory specialist, gained vast knowledge of global regulations, package design, and prepress production working in the dietary supplement and OTC industries. His experience with labeling regulations ensures that packages meet FDA and FTC graphic regulations.