Restaurant owners say no to illegal wet wipes!

I am shocked. Having enjoyed a meal last night in a well-established UK restaurant (no, I am not going to disclose where!) I was astounded to be given a refreshing lemon scented hand wet wipe after my meal, that was very clearly illegal and not compliant with the EU Regs for Cosmetics.

Yes, I know you think I am very sad for even looking at the regulatory information on the back of a wet wipe, but I am in the wet wipe business so who can blame me? We have been supplying hand wipes, amongst other wipes and sachets to restaurants up and down the country for the last 17 years. Therefore I can’t help having a sneaky peak at the hand wipe I’m given.

Having spent thousands of pounds (yes, you heard right), to ensure the products we manufacture and supply are compliant with all the necessary regulations I get frustrated when I see product which is being distributed and sold in this country, that is clearly illegal. For your information any product that is used to cleanse the skin is classed as a cosmetic and must be regulated.

The EU Cosmetic Regulations came into force in July 2013, so why in February 2015 am I still seeing hand wipes in restaurants that are non-compliant? I know Trading Standards are clamping down and there has already been product withdrawn from the market, but after a year and a half I would have thought that the manufacturers would not be supplying this type of product in the first place.

The rules were simple. I won’t bore you with all the detail, but in essence as manufacturers we have to produce products which only contain materials approved for use in cosmetics, label them correctly by disclosing all the ingredients and any allergens present, undertake a safety assessment, declare the person or company responsible for the product and register it on the cosmetic portal (CPNP), just in case a hospital or poison centre requires the information.

OK, you may think that this is over the top for a hand wipe, but it is EU law, and whether we like it or not we must comply. It is also quite re-assuring to know that your hands won’t come up in a horrible red rash when you clean them at the end of your meal!

If you look on the back of any cosmetic jar or bottle sold in any one of the big high street chemists you will see a whole bunch of jargon including ingredient listings and the address of the company responsible for the product. A restaurant hand wipe is exactly the same.

I appreciate a restaurateur may not know all the rules when purchasing a hand wipe and I am sure food & drink take greater priority in their establishment. However, I find it infuriating that the supplier of the hand wipe, who clearly know the rules, has decided to ignore them.

I am sure Guardpack could have saved a lot of time and money had we decided to ignore the rules too when producing hand wipes for private label and our mywipe brand. This is probably also true of many of our reputable counterparts, but I doubt many of us would be in business for long.

Sorry to rant, but I do get upset when some of us work by the rules and there are manufacturers out there who obviously don’t.

So if you own a restaurant and give out wet wipes please may I ask you a small favour? Take a moment to stop and think, especially if you purchase from overseas or received them free from your linen supplier, is this product legal?

I’m not daft, I do know that to give something out at the end of the meal for free has a direct hit on a restaurant’s bottom line profit, but we are talking a few pence each and it is a great way to promote your restaurant name and of course your customers will walk away with clean hands.

If however you are interested in getting legal hand wipes please get in touch.

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