Estimated “e” symbol on cosmetic product labels

European Union is an average fill market, meaning that that cosmetic (and other) products on average shouldn’t contain less than the nominal quantity written on the label. United States, on the other hand, are a minimum fill country.

You can see the Estimeted or “e” symbol (the correct name of the “e” symbol is the Estimated Symbol) on many cosmetic and other products sold in the EU and also worldwide, although this symbol is voluntary and manufacturers are not required to use it on their product labels. This symbol indicates that the manufacturer complies with the EU Directive 76/211/EEC.

The “e” symbol only applies to goods shipped within the EU and has no meaning for those shipped into the EU from non-member states (While some US manufacturers list this symbol on product labels, they typically do so to copy other labels or give the impression that their product is approved in the EU. The United States is a minimum fill country. This difference makes it difficult to comply with both market regulations).

In order to be compliant with the Directive 76/211/EEC and consequently be eligible to place the “e” symbol on the labels, the manufacturer has to ensure that:
– The average quantity of product in a batch of prepackages shall not be less than the nominal quantity stated on the label
– The proportion of prepackages having a negative error greater than the tolerable negative error shall be sufficiently small for batches of prepackages to satisfy the requirements of the tests specified in the Directive (see the table below)
– No prepackage having a negative error greater than twice the tolerable negative error may bear the “e” symbol
– Finished products of 5 g or 5 ml or less are not eligible to use this symbol

The “e” symbol should be at least 3 mm high and placed in the same field of vision as the indication of the nominal weight or nominal volume.
This letter shall have the form shown in the drawing contained in section 3 of Annex II to Directive 71/316/EEC.

labelling e sign