NewsEU court rules: 'Skin-friendly' claims mislead in disinfectant ads

EU court rules: 'Skin-friendly' claims mislead in disinfectant ads

ECJ comments on popular chemist shops
ECJ comments on popular chemist shops
Images source: © Adobe Stock
Michał Krawiel

24 June 2024 07:17

The Court of Justice of the European Union determined, in response to a question from the German court, that disinfectants cannot be advertised as "skin-friendly" under the regulation on biocidal products. This concerns a product offered by the DM drugstore chain.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued a ruling in response to a query posed by the German court. The case involved the interpretation of the regulation on biocidal products, particularly regarding whether disinfectants can be advertised as "skin-friendly." The CJEU ruling is significant for the DM drugstore chain, which was selling a product named BioLYTHE.

"Ecological universal disinfectant with a broad spectrum of action"

The DM drugstore chain introduced a disinfectant named BioLYTHE into its range. The label on this product included claims such as: "Ecological universal disinfectant with a broad spectrum of action," "disinfection of skin, hands, and external surfaces," "effective against SARS coronavirus," and "skin-friendly, bio, alcohol-free."

However, the German Association for Combating Unfair Competition raised concerns about these claims. According to the association, the advertisement of the BioLYTHE product constitutes unfair competition as it breaches the regulation on biocidal products. Consequently, the association decided to bring the matter before the courts in Germany.

The regulation cited by the association states that advertisements for biocidal products cannot include phrases such as "low-risk biocidal product," "non-toxic," "harmless," "natural," "environmentally friendly," "animal-friendly," or "any similar indications." Considering this, the German court referred a question to the CJEU, seeking to determine whether "any other indications" cover all statements in biocidal product advertisements that could mislead users by minimising the risks associated with their use or even denying their existence.

Ultimately, the German court will decide

The CJEU responded affirmatively to this question. The court found that the phrase "skin-friendly" has a positive connotation, implying that the product is not dangerous and may be beneficial for the skin. According to the CJEU, such a phrase is misleading and should not be used in advertising.

The final decision in this matter will be made by the court in Germany.

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