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UK Government to Certify Cosmetics for Animal Test Exemptions in China

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The UK government has launched a system for Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certification to exempt cosmetic products exporting to China from animal testing. 

Related: Appeals to ECHA Board Rejected, Animal Tests Required for REACH

The new Chinese laws for cosmetics have opened up an opportunity to work with the regional government to end animal testing requirements for general cosmetic products. The U.K. cosmetics industry, represented by the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) and several individual companies, worked collaboratively with the U.K. government to ensure the U.K. cosmetics industry can benefit from this exemption.

See related: 'Ordinary' French Cosmetics Become the First to Bypass China's Animal Testing Mandate

China's exemption applies to general cosmetic products. For companies and brands to qualify for this exemption, they must present a certificate of GMP that meets the requirements outlined by the China National Medical Products Administration (NMPA).

To obtain said GMP certificate, companies must show the U.K. government that they are manufacturing cosmetic products according to recognized GMP guidelines and standards. A third-party certificate from a recognized source should be presented, covering either:

  • Adherence to ISO 22716:2007, Cosmetics–GMP–Guidelines on Good Manufacturing Practices. The company issuing the GMP certifications should be accredited to standards ISO 17021 or ISO 17065 by an accreditation body member of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), such as the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS); or

  • A Brand Reputation Compliance Global Standards (BRCGS) certification for Consumer Products covering the manufacturing of cosmetic products.

GMP certificates issued by the U.K. Government will be valid for three years from the date of issue.

International trade minister, Ranil Jayawardena said, “This is great news, both for our iconic British cosmetics brands who are renowned globally for their high standards and ethical production methods, and for global brands manufactured in the United Kingdom. The new certification system will enable British manufacturers and exporters to create jobs and take advantage of one of the world’s fastest-growing cosmetics markets, which is forecast to be worth approximately £50 billion in 2021, while maintaining our clear position and domestic ban on animal testing in cosmetics.”

Michelle Thew, CEO of Cruelty Free International, said, "Cruelty Free International has been working closely with authorities and experts in China for a number of years to secure cruelty free routes to market for our Leaping Bunny brands. We're delighted that the collective efforts of U.K. stakeholders will mean that the U.K. cosmetics industry will be among the first to demonstrate to Chinese consumers that animal testing is not necessary for great quality, safe cosmetics."

See related: China Finalizes Animal Test Exemptions, CSAR Requirements for Cosmetics