China is removing the mandatory animal testing requirements for imported ‘general’ cosmetics, a huge step forward for cruelty-free beauty.
At present, while animal testing for cosmetics is banned in Europe, if a brand is sold in China this means it is not cruelty-free, because China requires animal testing by law.
However, from 1st May 2021, China will remove the mandatory animal testing requirements for imported ‘general’ cosmetics.
This means that products that do not have claims such as ‘anti-ageing, skin whitening or anti-acne’ will not need to go through animal testing when imported into the country.
‘General’ cosmetics such as shampoo, body wash, lotions and make-up comprise the bulk of the market, so this is a huge step forward for cruelty-free beauty. The new regulations will only apply to general use cosmetics and do not include hair dyes, hair-perming products, freckle-removing and whitening products, and sunscreens.
Moreover, China has also approved two new non-animal methods of cosmetic testing, indicating an animal-free future in the next few years.
Companies wishing to register will need to provide a Certificate of Good Manufacturing Practices in place of toxicology tests, but it is not yet determined who will issue a GMP certificate in the U.S. and Canada.
The bottom line: The announcement is good news, but there will still be many hurdles and costs for companies wishing to register to sell in China. Change will not happen overnight, but certainly things are moving in the right direction for the animals. At this time, the Leaping Bunny Program in the U.S. and Canada still only allows for the sale of products into China through Cross Border E-Commerce (which does not require registration with the NMPA). They are in direct communication with their partners in China who are working diligently on obtaining updates on new information.