The Network of Official Cosmetics Control Laboratories (OCCLs)

The European Network of Official Cosmetics Control Laboratories (OCCLs) brings together specialised laboratories of members and observers to the Convention on the Elaboration of a European Pharmacopoeia. It includes countries from Europe and beyond. The OCCL Network was created in June 2010 after a survey of national competent authorities revealed a need to foster cross-border collaboration, share technical expertise and enhance quality management in accordance with international standards. The Terms of Reference of the European Network of OCCLs outline its main objectives, organisation, membership and quality-management system.

  • Who is involved?

The European Network of national OCCLs was set up on a voluntary basis; more than 50 OCCLs participate in regular network activities, including laboratories in 22 member states of the European Union. Participation is open to all Council of Europe member states which have signed the Convention on the Elaboration of a European Pharmacopoeia. Other countries may designate an OCCL to become an associated member of the network if they have been granted observer status to the European Pharmacopoeia Commission (e.g. Australia, Morocco, Canada, Singapore or USA).

  • Why join the OCCL Network?

The OCCL Network pools resources across laboratories and maximises efficiency and resource use by performing Europe-wide market surveillance studies. Participating laboratories share knowledge and expertise on analytical methods for testing cosmetic products, carry out common testing programmes across Europe, run collaborative studies and share test results, working towards mutual recognition.

This brings great advantages to participating laboratories, as they can benefit from the scientific expertise of other laboratories and have access to specific analytical equipment that may not be available at national level, while also making their own expertise and competencies available to other laboratories. To enquire about membership and projects, contact the OCCL Network Secretariat.

  • Activities of the OCCL Network

The Network decides its work programme based on the feedback from laboratories themselves, from the European Committee for Cosmetics and Consumer Health (CD-P-COS) and when health issues across the world need to be tackled. All activities offer an opportunity to access knowledge, assess competencies and discuss analytical methods and test results with other laboratories which may be facing similar issues.

Interested in learning more about the activities of the Network or becoming a member? Contact the OCCL Network Secretariat.

Learn more about the activities of the Network.

Co-operation with other European authorities

The OCCL Network also co-operates closely with the EC and the EU Joint Research Centre (JRC). This facilitates agreement on common approaches and efficient sampling strategies for effective consumer safety protection.

In 2014, the OCCL Network, the JRC and the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) jointly adopted a common approach for the validation of analytical test methods for cosmetics developed by individual laboratories. The resulting guidelines were a major milestone, establishing a common understanding of Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009 and a harmonised testing strategy for cosmetics, based on validated analytical methods.

In addition, the OCCL Network interacts and co-operates with the Platform of European Market Surveillance Authorities for Cosmetics (PEMSAC) in order to safeguard the quality of cosmetic products in the European market.

What is an OCCL?

An OCCL is a public institution tasked with performing laboratory testing of cosmetics for the purpose of market surveillance. More than 50 OCCLs participate in the OCCL Network. Participation is open to member states which are Parties to the Convention on the Elaboration of a European Pharmacopoeia of the Council of Europe and to observers/observer states.

Network membership is open to publicly funded, independent laboratories, which have implemented a quality management system as laid down in ISO/IEC 17025:2017 (or equivalent), and have suitable rules in place for sub-contracting certain types of work.

OCCLs Network members at a glance

How to join?

Official Cosmetics Control Laboratories in eligible member states may join the Network.

Official observers of the European Pharmacopoeia are also invited to participate in Network activities such as coordinated market surveillance studies, proficiency testing and different types of expert meetings.

To enquire about membership and projects, contact the OCCL Network Secretariat: [email protected]