April 12, 2022 – In the European Union, selling cosmetic products tested on animals is prohibited. The ban on animal testing applies to both the final formulation and the ingredients of the product. This means that it is forbidden to place a product on the market that contains at least one ingredient tested on animals, even if the final product was not tested on animals.
Since when is animal testing prohibited in EU cosmetic industry?
Over the years, there have been more bans. The first ban came in 2004, which prohibited the testing of finished cosmetic products on animals. Subsequently, the ban on testing ingredients used in cosmetics products for the purpose of proving compliance with Cosmetics Regulation was implemented in 2009. Nevertheless, it was allowed to test on animals substances considered as carcinogenic, mutagenic, or toxic for reproduction until 2013.
Few exceptions to the ban
The EU ban on animal testing is a marketing as well as testing ban. In other words, the ban not only prohibits selling cosmetic products which were tested on animals but also forbids performing such tests. Currently, a Member State might request a derogation to the ban in some exceptional circumstances. Generally, this could happen only in case of serious safety concerns regarding the use of an ingredient. Article 18, paragraph 2, lists the conditions which could lead to a derogation of the ban:
- the ingredient is in wide use and cannot be replaced by another ingredient having the same function;
- there is evidence of human health problems. In such cases, animal testing is justified and supported by a detailed research protocol.
What is the claim “not tested on animals”?
In the EU, the claim “not tested on animals” on a cosmetic product is not allowed because tests on animals are prohibited by law. Likewise, comparable claims such as “animal friendly” or logos demonstrating cruelty-free are also not-compliant. Overall, cosmetic products cannot display claims that are legal requirements. Competent authorities do not approve claims before a product goes on the market. Therefore, cosmetics on the EU market sometimes present claims that go beyond what the law permits. Nonetheless, Competent Authorities monitor the market and act against breaches. In this regard, one of the fundamental roles of the EU Responsible Person is to ensure that the products placed on the market present claims that are aligned with the requirements established in the Regulation.
European Commission (2009). Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on cosmetic products. Retrieved on 18/02/2022 from https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:02009R1223-20190813&from=EN