A Coventry shopkeeper and his limited company have been ordered to pay a total of £2,732 after pleading guilty to five offences of possession of illegal cosmetics products.
At a hearing on Wednesday (17 May), Coventry Magistrates were told that officers from Coventry Trading Standards inspected Mr Muhammad Altaf’s shop, Barcode, in the Burges in July last year.
During the inspection, 39 jars of a skin lightening cream – Caro Light - were found that claimed to contain the ingredient hydroquinone. This is a banned product and cannot be used in cosmetics as it can result in a host of problems from skin thinning and discoloration to organ damage and even cancer.
When the products seized were tested they were found to contain over 4% of the dangerous substance.
Magistrates fined Mr Altaf, aged 48, of Beech Tree Avenue, Coventry, and 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 under the Cosmetic Products Enforcement Regulations 2013, General Product Safety Regulations 2005 and Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
Allan Harwood, Trading Standards and Consumer Protection Manager, 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. The Citizens Advice consumer service provides free, confidential and impartial advice on consumer issues. Visit www.adviceguide.org.uk or call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06.