Labelling of antibacterial products is proving to be difficult

Too many products in the EU treated with biocides to prevent bacteria, pests or fungus such as odourless clothes are not labelled correctly as required by the EU Biocidal Products Regulation.

Biocides are added to a wide range of products to give them specific properties and thus prevent bad odours, rot, mould, etc. If the property of the biocide treatment is used in the marketing, it must be stated on the product label. This applies to properties such as odourless, bactericidal or antibacterial.

Problem throughout the EU
In a large EU examination, the authorities checked over 1,800 products treated with biocidal substances for compliance with the labelling requirements. Almost three-quarters of the products were manufactured in the EU and included clothing, paint, bedding, sports equipment and kitchenware.

The labelling of the majority of the products was not in compliance. A correct label must contain information about the biocidal substance used. In addition, it must be made in the national language of the Member State where the product is sold. Labelling in only English, French or German is not sufficient.

Should my biocidal product be labelled?
If you use, import or market biocidal products, you can do the following to ensure that they are labelled correctly:

  • Are words such as “antibacterial”, “bactericidal” or “odourless” used to claim the product? In this case, the product must be labelled according to the Biocidal Products Regulation.
  • Ask for documentation from the manufacturer or importer as to which biocidal substance the product contains (the requirement applies both to products produced in and outside the EU). The substance must be indicated on the product label.
  • In how many countries is the product marketed (in other words, in how many languages is labelling required)?
  • Does the product contain a nano substance? If yes, it must be stated on the labelling.

For more information check ECHA’s information about biocides in treated articles.

For assistance with correct labelling of biocides, please contact:

Ilaria de Rosa Carstensen
Tel +45 4516 9369