Fake cosmetics seizures rocket at EU borders

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Personal care products, European union

Fake cosmetics flooded into the EU in ever increasing numbers last
year although customs officials seized fewer goods overall.

In the hordes of goods intercepted by customs at EU borders, personal care and cosmetics products numbered 6.1m, an increase of 264 per cent on 2006. Against general trend ​ The European Commission said the leap went against the overall trend as the total number of counterfeit goods seized actually fell from 128m to 79m. This was in spite of a significant rise in cases from 37,000 to 43,000 suggesting that the number of large hauls fell sharply from the previous year. The EC put forward higher internet sales and unwillingness on the part of counterfeiters to take big risks as possible explanations for this. However, cosmetics and personal care products turned up in larger and larger quantities in raids. Countries of origin​ The origin of these fakes appears to be changing as Georgia and Turkey take over from China as the principle sources. In 2006 China was on top of the fake cosmetics list accounting for 37 per cent of the total but now its share has fallen to 15.8 per cent. Georgia now tops the list of countries of origin for counterfeit cosmetics coming into the EU with a 32.1 per cent share of the total followed by Turkey with 19.4 per cent and then China. "Worrying" increase​ The increases in fake cosmetics and personal care products was described as "worrying" by the EC because these goods are potentially dangerous to consumers. However making statistical comparisons between years can be misleading because of the influence of additional factors such as improvements in detection. For example cooperation between industry and customs authorities improved significantly in 2007 as applications for customs actions from companies increased from 7,000 to 10,000. This change would have had a noticeable impact on the statistics as requests of this nature were behind 80 per cent of customs interventions.

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