Non-animal testing cosmetics breakthrough reported in China

Cruelty Free International welcomes reports that the Chinese Food and Drug Administration propose to abolish the requirement for animal testing for cosmetics for domestically manufactured ordinary products (such as shampoo, skincare or perfume) from June 2014. Instead it proposes that industry should now have the option to assess the safety of a substance based on the toxicological profile of ingredients, similar to the Cosmetic Product Safety Report under the EU Cosmetic Regulations. China will thereafter consider further steps for imports and special-use cosmetics based on the experiences.

Despite a global trend to end the testing of cosmetics on animals, and although such testing is illegal for marketing in the European Union since March this year, progress has been delayed in China by the requirement for all cosmetics to be submitted for animal testing in Government laboratories. This has forced companies selling their products in China to duplicate their safety procedures, testing without the use of animals for Europe and then allowing China to re-test with animals. As a result, a number of leading companies have refused to sell cosmetics in China until it becomes possible to do so without animal testing.

This significant development, which will enable companies to market cosmetics in China without testing on animals, follows a consultation by the Chinese authorities on the way forward with submissions from Cruelty Free International, as well as Chinese and international industry, and discussions with Cruelty Free International’s Director of Policy in Beijing and Shanghai last month and earlier in the year.

Michelle Thew, Chief Executive, Cruelty Free International, says, ‘This breakthrough will mean that the last global regulatory body that required animal testing is ready to accept alternatives for the majority of cosmetics. While we are awaiting details and final confirmation of the draft, potentially this could transform the situation in China for ethical cosmetic companies who have up to now refused to sell in China in order to remain in the Leaping Bunny accreditation scheme, which bars cosmetics whose ingredients are tested on animals. We also welcome the role of the European Commission, who have told us they have been offering technical support and advice to China in this area.

This shows what can be done when animal protection organisations, industry and the Commission all work together. We also expect this to help our work in Japan, Korea and other countries which are moving towards an end to the archaic approach of cosmetic testing on animals.’

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