Animal-Test Alternatives Progress In China Despite Regulatory Uncertainty
This article was originally published in The Rose Sheet
China took steps earlier this year to begin phasing out required animal-testing for selected cosmetic products; however, the Chinese government has yet to approve any alternative assessment methods. Nonprofit organizations and leading firms such as L’Oreal are focused on helping stakeholders to incorporate in vitro test methods internally and develop their scientific and technical know-how as the regulatory picture crystallizes.
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Regulatory changes under consideration could bring Chinese cosmetics requirements more in line with global standards, but others could complicate matters for companies that have avoided animal testing via cross-border e-commerce. While much remains hazy, it's clear that industry would benefit from China's increased openness to alternative tests to substantiate cosmetic safety.
While nothing is certain and visibility is low as usual, China may be on the verge of allowing importers of ordinary (non-special use) cosmetics to forgo animal testing otherwise required by the China Food and Drug Administration when they go through the Shanghai Pudong New Area. Reportedly, a pilot program enabling a simplified filing process will kick off in March to test the system under consideration.
China revised its cosmetics regulations last year to allow domestic ordinary-use cosmetic manufacturers to substantiate safety without use of animal tests, and in many cases the exemption is being extended to importers, according to Cruelty Free International's Director of Policy Nick Palmer. He says cosmetics that are bottled or packaged in the country are being considered domestics exempt from animal-testing requirements under a "liberal interpretation" of the regulation.