What is a CFS?
When exporting to third countries, companies are often asked to provide a Certificate of Free Sale (CFS) as part of their export dossier. A CFS is an attestation made by the UK Responsible Person* that products comply with:
- Schedule 34 of the Product Safety and Metrology Statutory Instrument for cosmetic products marketed in Great Britain (GB), which includes England, Wales and Scotland; and/or
- the EU Cosmetic Products Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009 for cosmetics marketed in Northern Ireland (NI). This is in accordance with the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol within the UK/EU Withdrawal Agreement.
and may be freely sold across:
- GB; and/or
A CFS is also regarded as a 'Certificate of Manufacture' or a 'Health Certificate' or 'Safety Certificate' by certain countries.
*Article 5A of the UK Cosmetics Regulation, which was introduced by the latest amendment Product Safety and Metrology etc. (Amendment etc.) (UK(NI) Indication) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020, gives the conditions for an NI-based importer or RP to be recognised also in the UK.
Who can issue a CFS?
A CFS is issued by or on behalf of the UK Responsible Person.
The Responsible Person (RP) is a legal or natural person located in the UK, responsible for ensuring that its products are safe and in full compliance with the Regulation(s). The RP is easily identifiable as its address is labelled on pack.
According to the UK and the EU cosmetic Regulations, each cosmetic must be assessed for safety by a duly qualified safety assessor before it is made available to the public. The RP is also responsible of ensuring that the product has been manufactured under Good Manufacturing Practices. This requirement applies even if the product has been manufactured by another entity such as a contract manufacturer. Information relating to each cosmetic product, including its formula, its method of manufacture and its safety assessment must be readily available to the UK Competent Authorities.
A CFS can be requested on behalf of the RP by its sub-contractors or consultants.
Which organisation in the UK can deliver a CFS?
A CFS, as a self-declaration issued by the UK RP, is a valid document accepted by several countries. However, some authorities require the CFS to be issued by the national Competent Authority or a relevant organisation, which could be a Government Department, a trade association or a Chamber of Commerce.
In the UK, a CFS can be delivered by the Department for International Trade (DIT), a UK Government Department, on behalf of the UK RP. The DIT's CFS declaration effectively confirms that the goods listed meet the UK and/or the EU's high safety standards as they are being sold in the GB and/or NI market.
To apply for a CFS from DIT, please go to: http://www.ilb.trade.gov.uk/
Is there any difference in the CFS issued by EU Member States?
In the EU, a CFS is issued by or on behalf of the EU RP, and certifies that the products comply with the EU Cosmetic Products Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009 and may be freely sold across the EU. Further information can be found on the Cosmetics Europe website.