London Trading Standards campaign against illegal skin lightening products has seen further success. Since August three more businesses have been successfully prosecuted including, for the first time, an online seller.
In Barking & Dagenham the owner of a beauty salon received a three-month suspended sentence and was ordered to pay fines and costs of over £10,000, after he was caught selling Sacred Union Supreme White branded products containing hydroquinone.
47 year old Augustin Koloko, Director of Koloko Cosmetics Ltd T/A Supreme White beauty salon in East Street, Barking pleaded guilty at Barkingside Magistrates on 18th August.
Barking & Dagenham Trading Standards launched their investigation following a referral from the government’s medicines watchdog the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). They had been alerted to the issue when a Consultant Dermatologist at St Bartholomew’s Hospital attended to a patient with skin damage.
A test purchase revealed that a product on sale at Supreme White contained 4.7% and 675 items were subsequently seized.
- Read more about the Barking & Dagenham prosecution here
In Southwark a Trading Standards sting and surveillance operation uncovered a haul of 3,000 illegal skin lightening products being kept in a van belonging to Tanveer Ahmed (46) the Director of Zara Hair & Cosmetics Limited which trades in Walworth Road, SE17.
Ahmed, sole Director of the company, pleaded guilty to offences of breaching EU cosmetics safety laws, by supplying skin lighteners containing the banned ingredient hydroquinone. At Camberwell Green Magistrates Court he was fined and ordered to pay costs amounting to £25,287 on 29th September.
One product seized, called Grace Duo, was found to contain over 20 per cent hydroquinone – believed to be the highest concentration ever found by trading standards in such products.
- Read more about the Southwark prosecution here
In Waltham Forest ebay trader Ishtiaq Ahmad and his company, Beautycare Fashon Ltd, received fines and costs of £20,170 at Thames Magistrates Court on 7th September.
Ahmad has been running his cosmetic business since 2015 from his home address situated in Etchingham Road, Leyton, E15 2DF using the ebay ID Beautydesire_27 and Beautycare_fashion. These came to trading standards attention due to a number of listings for products known to contain prohibited ingredients.
Waltham Forest Trading Standards subsequently executed a warrant at his home and seized 1,857 products.
- Read more about the Waltham Forest prosecution here
Another Barking & Dagenham trader received fines and costs totalling £20,750 in April 2017 whilst another Southwark based trader is awaiting sentence after pleading guilty earlier this year.
- Read about LTS action earlier this year here
Steve Playle, spokesperson for London Trading Standards said:
“Last year 15 businesses were fined over £168,000 for selling banned skin lighteners across the capital. These latest results show that London Trading Standards continues to lead the fight against these illegal and dangerous cosmetic products.”
“Waltham Forest’s successful case against an ebay based trader shows that online retailers are not beyond our reach whilst Southwark’s use of covert surveillance techniques shows that shops cannot simply evade the law by hiding their illegal stock off site.”
“London Trading Standards continues to carry out inspections and test purchasing to combat this harmful trade and is also working behind the scenes to deal with online retailers.”