France to be the first EU country exempted from pre-market animal testing

▻ On January 1, China updated its 1990 Cosmetic Supervision and Administration Regulations. In the process, China has agreed to relinquish its pre-market mandatory animal testing requirement for imported “ordinary use” cosmetics as long as foreign manufacturers are able to guarantee the conformity of the product with required standards.

Historically, imported cosmetic products, before being authorised for commercialisation on Chinese soil, had to undergo animal testing for eye irritation and skin irritation, a procedure which in the EU banned in 2009. Since 2014 China has begun to allow some cosmetic products (including common make-up, shampoos and shower gels) not to be animal-tested upon importation. 

Now, with a further step, Chinese authorities established that all ordinary cosmetic products exported to China are exempt from the reiteration of relevant toxicological tests. In order for that to happen, foreign manufacturers must provide a certificate of conformity declaring that their product complies with Good Manufacturing Practices and that the product safety risk assessment results can fully verify the product safety.

Pre-market animal testing for the so-called “special” cosmetics, namely hair-colouring cosmetics, sun protections or products for children, will still remain in force. Likewise, toxicological assessments  on animals will remain possible on after-sales product tests as well, such as those carried out in response to a consumer complaint. 

According to the France’s beauty trade body, the Fédération des entreprises de la beauté (FEBEA), France is set to become the first European country to export cruelty-free cosmetic products to China. Since Jan 12, 2021 (), the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) has published a dedicated platform to allow French domestic brands manufacturers to file for the the necessary certifications. 

As on of the world’s largest personal care markets, China is an exquisite destination for most cosmetic brands and this significative stance represents a major shift towards a more cruelty-free industry.