EU bans animal testing for cosmetics

11.03.2013 - 13:16

As of today, cosmetics tested on animals can no longer be sold in the EU market. The Commission today adopted a Communication affirming its commitment to respect the deadline set by Council and Parliament in 2003 and stressing that it intends to further support research and innovation in this area but without compromising animal welfare.

As European Commissioner in charge of Health & Consumer Policy, Tonio Borg, stated: "Today's entry into force of the full marketing ban gives an important signal on the value that Europe attaches to animal welfare. The Commission is committed to continue supporting the development of alternative methods and to engage with third countries to follow our European approach. This is a great opportunity for Europe to set an example of responsible innovation in cosmetics without any compromise on consumer safety."

So far, the full replacement of animal testing by alternative methods is not possible. However, the Commission is determined to support the search for alternative methods to test cosmetics and has contributed EUR 238 million between 2007 and 2011 to this end.

Animal testing in the EU is already prohibited since 2004 for cosmetic products and since 2009 for cosmetic ingredients (testing ban). As from March 2009, it is also prohibited to market in the EU cosmetic products containing ingredients which have been tested on animals (marketing ban). However, for the most complex tests the marketing ban deadline was extended to 11 March 2013.

The European Cosmetics and Toiletries industry is worth more than EUR 70 billion, representing almost half of the global market for cosmetics. An estimated 184.000 people are directly employed by the cosmetics industry in the EU.