Inside track: Regulatory expert explains CFDA non-animal testing decision

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

CIRS reveals new CFDA guidelines on animal testing

Related tags Cosmetics

Yesterday, Cosmetics Design reported on the CFDA’s recent decision to allow some cosmetic companies to bypass animal testing on their products. We spoke to the Chemical Inspection & Regulation Service in China to break down the specifics of the adjusted guidelines.

The announcement came on the 5th​ of November and stated that for the first time Chinese cosmetic and personal care manufacturers producing ‘non-special use cosmetics’ will have the option to use existing safety data for raw ingredients or European Union-validated non-animal tests.

It's the kind of breakthrough the industry has been waiting for in the fight against animal testing right? Well, the decision has managed to cause some confusion as to what safe methods will be acceptable in place of the previous protocol and just who these guidelines will really be applicable to in the long run.

April Guo, Head of Cosmetics Regulatory Affairs at the Chemical Inspection & Regulation Service tells this publication that the adjustment will essentially see three big changes in place.

The notice intends to simplify record-keeping requirements and remove compulsory animal test requirements for non-special use cosmetics. This class of cosmetics refers to those specifically produced in China​,” she explains.

Three big changes...

Firstly, Guo explains that the provincial food and drug authority will no longer issue record-keeping certificates for approved domestic non-special use cosmetics, so those companies specialising in this area will need to conduct online record-keeping from 1st Jun 2014.

"The record-keeping requirements will be reduced while post-market supervision will be strengthened,"​ she tells Cosmetics Design.

Secondly, the regulatory expert says cosmetics with skin-whitening and skin pigmentation reduction claims will be classified as special use cosmetics (anti-freckle category) from 1st Jan 2015. However, whitening cosmetics produced before 1st Jan 2015 can still be sold until the end of shelf life.

Finally, she notes that with regards to imported non-special use cosmetics, the authority can undertake responsibilities of the administrative approval of imported cosmetics from 30 June 2014 after receiving confirmations and unified training from the State Food and Drug Administration in Beijing.

How these changes will affect the industry

All in all, Guo says this provision will stand for domestic manufacturers who have the capabilities to conduct their own safety assessment of ingredients to ensure the safety of finished products, in order to be eligible to avoid toxicology testing.

"This provision is only applicable to non-special use cosmetics produced in China. It is not clear if it is also going to be applicable to imported non-special use cosmetics in the future,"​ she says.

However; for many foreign cosmetic brands who wish to enter the Chinese market and avoid animal testing in the approval process, the regulatory expert says there may be a way forward for them to achieve both: by finding a toll manufacturer to manufacture their cosmetic products locally in China.

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