Coventry City Trading Standards say that consumers should report any instances of buying skin lightening creams contain hydroquinone, as this is a banned product in the UK.
On Wednesday 17 May 2017, a Coventry shopkeeper and his limited company were ordered to pay a total of £2,732, after pleading guilty to five offences of possession of illegal cosmetics products.
Coventry Magistrates’ Court heard that officers from Coventry Trading Standards inspected Muhammad Altaf’s shop Barcode in the Burges areas of Coventry in July 2016 – and during the inspection, 39 jars of the skin lightening cream Caro Light were found, which claimed to contain the ingredient hydroquinone.
Hydroquinone is a banned product which may result in a range of issues, including skin thinning, skin discolouration, organ damage and even cancer.
After products seized at Altaf’s shop were tested, they were found to contain more than 4% hydroquinone.
Magistrates fined Muhammad Altaf, 48, of Beech Tree Avenue in Coventry, as well as his company, Shabs Ltd, a total of £1,250 for the offences – and ordered full costs of £1,422, and a £60 victim surcharge.
The offences were brought under the Cosmetic Products Enforcement Regulations 2013, General Product Safety Regulations 2005 and Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
After the hearing, Coventry City Council’s Trading Standards and Consumer Protection Manager, Allan Harwood, said:
“The sentence reflects the hazard of these illegal products – we were concerned that the business could not prove the true identity of the person who had supplied them and basic checks on the product had not taken place.
“If any traders have skin lightening products, then they should check them to see if they have hydroquinone listed in their ingredients – if they do, then they should remove them from sale and contact us immediately.
“It is an offence to distribute cosmetics which contain illegal ingredients and have not been tested and registered by their manufacturer or importer.
“These traders are not only playing with the lives of their customers, but they also face prosecution, as shown in this case.”
Complaints about illegal, counterfeit or incorrectly labelled products can be made to the Citizens Advice consumer service.
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