French exemptions on China animal testing a ‘template for other countries to follow’, says P&G

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

Beauty majors and animal advocacy groups have welcomed the move made by France to enable its brands and manufacturers to qualify for China animal testing exemptions when exporting and suggest other countries should follow suit (Getty Images)
Beauty majors and animal advocacy groups have welcomed the move made by France to enable its brands and manufacturers to qualify for China animal testing exemptions when exporting and suggest other countries should follow suit (Getty Images)

Related tags: Animal testing, Animal testing ban, Animal testing alternatives, China, France, Procter & gamble, L'oréal, Humane Society International

The move by France to provide a government platform enabling beauty manufacturers to qualify for exemptions when exporting general-use cosmetics to China should carve out a path for other countries to follow, says a Procter & Gamble executive.

Earlier this month, France became the first EU country to qualify for exemptions​ on animal testing when exporting ‘ordinary’ cosmetics to China – enabled under incoming changes to a subsidiary regulation of China’s Cosmetic Supervision and Administration Regulation (CSAR)​.

New measures announced in January and due to take effect from May 1, 2021, meant exemptions would be granted for manufacturers that provided a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certificate issued by a government regulatory department, not a third-party institution or association, alongside compliant product safety assessment documentation. Up until now, China had required animal testing for all imported cosmetics on arrival, excluding those sold via cross border e-commerce channels; testing that was carried out by Chinese local health control authorities, not brands.

France became the first EU country to qualify for exemptions because its National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) had developed a dedicated platform via Demarches-simplifiees​ which enabled French beauty makers to obtain government-issued certificates and approvals required by Chinese authorities.

Beauty and personal care majors Procter & Gamble and L’Oréal welcome the move

Harald Schlatter PhD, director of scientific communications and animal welfare advocacy at Procter & Gamble, said the company was “pleased about these recent developments”​ in China and France.

“We have been working to eliminate animal testing mandates with animal welfare organisations and industry for many years. The French effort will enable more companies to use the new regulatory process for registration of product exports to China without animal testing and we hope other countries in the EU and beyond will follow,”​ Schlatter told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.

Whilst P&G already used the current non-animal testing process for all beauty and cosmetic products it manufactured in China, this latest move by France would enable direct imports to also avoid animal testing.

“This will serve as a template for other countries to follow,”​ he said.

A L’Oréal spokeswoman also welcomed the progress: “This new decision is an important step for the products that are manufactured outside China as they could soon no longer be tested on animals by Chinese authorities. We are pleased with this significant progress for which we have worked with industry and public authorities to achieve.”

Humane Society International applauds ‘France’s proactivity’

Troy Seidle, vice president of research and toxicology at Humane Society International, said: “We applaud France’s proactivity in helping French companies navigate regulatory changes in China to forego animal testing on imported ordinary cosmetics.”

“…We urge other countries to take similar initiatives to support companies’ fulfilment of China’s rules for imports on ordinary cosmetics without pre-market animal testing. This goes to show that where there is a will, there is a way, to end animal testing.”

Whilst the full set of implementing regulations in China that enabled these exemptions was not yet in force – set to become effective from May 1, 2021 – he said that once they did, it would be a “milestone moment in China’s evolution in cosmetics safety assessment”.

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