From January 2020, new non-animal tests will go ahead in China, and will be the preferred method for future cosmetics testing
So far, two innovative non-animal methods have received approval, and these include the direct peptide reaction assay for skin sensitisation, and the short-time exposure assay for eye irritation.
The step towards cruelty-free alternatives comes thanks to the Memorandum of Understanding. This was signed by the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS), a non-profit research and testing lab dedicated to the development of animal-free testing methods, and China’s National Medical Products Association (NMPA) in 2017.
Erin Hill, President of IIVS, says: “We have seen first-hand how the partnership with NIFDC and our training program have built capacity and proficiency in alternatives. The opening of the alternatives laboratory at the Zhejiang Institute for Food and Drug Control (ZJIFDC) is a wonderful example of how laboratories can expand to offer training and testing services in alternative test methods.”
Over the past few years, IIVS has worked closely with a division of the NMPA – the National Institutes for Food and Drug Control (NIFDC), to help to update Chine’s cosmetic animal testing policies.
In October last year, the NIFDC said that it was looking for ‘viable’ alternatives to cosmetic animal testing, and announced that this was a priority.
IIVS and the NMPA hope to make animal testing for ingredients obsolete, and their collaboration seeks to promote hands-on training in cruelty-free alternatives.
Already, the program has trained over 100 scientists in animal-free testing procedures, including the two recently approved tests, as well as NRU 3T3 Photoxicity, the first approved non-animal test method.
Cosmetics animal testing in China has been mandatory for many years, but as consumers are awakened to the reality of animal suffering, and as technology advances, more pressure is being exerted on the country to move away from such archaic practices.
Last month, the Gansu Province National Medical Products Association claimed that it would end cosmetic animal testing for all finished products, both foreign and domestic.