Reports last week suggested the ASEAN Cosmetics Committee would discuss a proposed animal testing ban; however it was not on the agenda, Dr Alain Khaiat, SEERS Consulting and official member of the Singapore delegation at the ASEAN Cosmetic Scientific Body, tells CosmeticsDesign-Asia.com.
Khaiat has served research and development roles at Johnson & Johnson and Yves Rocher amongst others, and has been active in the promotion of alternative methods for a number of decades, giving a presentation on the implications of the EU ban on ASEAN companies at an informal, information meeting.
“There was a proposal to add it to the agenda but at the end it is not on the agenda,” he tells us.
The ASEAN Cosmetic Directive states that "companies responsible for placing the product in the market have to ensure product safety".
“There is no indication on what to do and the ASEAN Safety Guidelines explains the requirements but does not prescribe any test,” continues Khaiat. “It is up to the companies to do what they think is required to ensure product safety.”
He states that regulators are accepting the tests results from alternative methods placed in the Product Information File (PIF).
“More companies are receiving questions from consumers asking whether they do test their products on animals,” says Khaiat. “Today all MNCs have moved away from animal testing, many local medium companies are not testing on animals already.”
“From my understanding there is only a very small number of companies having their products tested on animals today. I believe that within the next 1 or 2 years this will disappear.”
At present, Khaiat explains that some companies simply do not know what to do to assess the safety of their products, meaning they send them to a laboratory for testing without requesting any particular test.
As the laboratories will be moving away from animal testing, tests will be performed using alternative methods.
“I think the focus on ASEAN, today, is unnecessary,” adds the industry expert. “Only very few products, made by small local companies, might be tested on animals and steps have been taken by laboratories to replace these with alternative methods.”
“On the other side, animal testing is a mandatory requirement on ingredients and products classified as ‘Quasi-Drug’ in Japan. It would be a better use of the energy to focus on reclassifying these products as cosmetics (like in the EU, ASEAN and many other countries) and eliminating the animal testing requirements,” he ends.