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Animal Welfare: Departmental Responsibilities

Volume 478: debated on Thursday 26 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will consider the merits of ensuring (a) the disclosure of non-commercially sensitive information and data in product records relating to animal testing of cosmetics and (b) the sharing of such data to avoid the need for repeat experiments in respect of European Council Directive 76/768. (211599)

The seventh amendment to the cosmetics directive introduced a requirement that data on animal testing relating to cosmetic products or their ingredients, and performed by manufacturers, their agents or suppliers, be included in the product information accessible to the competent authorities (Article 7a(1)(h)). This requirement is now contained in the Cosmetic Product (Safety) Regulations 2008 Article 16(1)(i).

However, the UK has operated a voluntary ban on the testing of cosmetic products on animals since 1996. This ban was made compulsory on 11 September 2004, with the implementation of the Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 2004 (SI 2004/2152), which implement the seventh amendment to the EU Council directive on the safety of cosmetic products and which introduced a ban on the testing of cosmetic products in the EU.

By March 2009, cosmetic manufacturers will no longer be able to use animals to test any ingredients or combinations of ingredients for cosmetic purposes, even if alternative methods are unavailable. The same deadline sees the introduction of a marketing ban in the Union on any cosmetic product whose ingredients have been tested on animals. The only exception will be certain toxicity tests for which the deadline has been extended for four years to 2013.

At present virtually the only tests on cosmetic ingredients that are carried out in the EU relate to substances which are already in use in cosmetics and for which safety concerns have been raised, either by or to the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products. If regarded as necessary, any animal tests would normally be carried out by a test house on behalf of the pan-European industry, in collaboration with the Commission and the SCCP.