Great news from Europe, but more remains to be done

On 11th March 2013 the European Union banned the sale of new cosmetic products containing ingredients tested on animals with immediate effect.

The EU ban means that any company wishing to sell new cosmetic products within the European Union must ensure that none of the ingredients, or finished products, have been tested on animals anywhere in the world. The ban affects all cosmetics including toiletries and beauty products from soap to toothpaste.


The ban was originally applied in March 2009 for all human health effects but an exception was made for repeated-dose toxicity, reproductive toxicity and toxicokinetics testing ‘until alternatives were found’.

However the new ban now applies ‘irrespective of the availability of alternative non-animal tests.’ This will increase pressure and resources for further research and validation of no- animal methods, a goal in line with those of the Lush Prize.

Prior to this ban, the EU had allowed the sale of products tested on animals for certain specific risks in countries where no such ban existed, including the United States, Canada, Brazil and Russia. In some countries, including China animal testing is mandatory for some cosmetic ingredients and products.


The New York Times noted that this “global divergence in safety rules” could mean that companies sell the same product globally, but market one version for countries like China backed up by safety evidence from animal tests, and another version for Europe backed up by evidence from alternative tests.

They also quoted a German campaigner, Dagmar Roth-Behrendt, who said that companies still “could use ingredients from tests on animals as long as the tests were carried out for non-cosmetic products like pharmaceuticals or chemicals.” Ms. Roth-Behrendt said she did not know if the loophole followed pressure from the industry, but added, “This is wrong.”


Campaigners around the world have warmly welcomed the ban and are now focussing their pressure on those countries where testing is still required or carried out.

The Lush Prize, already global in its focus (see the 2012 Prize Winners), is well set to play its part in encouraging this new trend.