While China still requires foreign companies to pay for tests on animals in order to sell their products on its markets, a change in the rules has opened the door for domestic companies manufacturing certain types of products to avoid all animal tests.
Eco&more is reported to have worked with PETA to ensure that no animals will be harmed in producing its plant-based cleaners, shampoos, lotions, and other home and personal-care products.
"Eco&more is showing the world that there are companies in China that don't want any part of poisoning animals in cruel tests and we're pleased that compassionate Chinese consumers have more options to choose from," says PETA senior vice president Kathy Guillermo.
International companies committed to staying cruelty-free includes NYX Cosmetics, Paula's Choice, The Body Shop, Jack Black, Yes to Carrots, while others—pledged to stay out of the Chinese market entirely after discussions with PETA.
Scientists funded in part by PETA continue to train Chinese government scientists in the use of non-animal tests for cosmetics ingredients.
The Institute for In Vitro Sciences is still very much present in the country years after the first introduction of the animal testing alternative, continuing to build labs and educate scientists at the Zhejiang Food and Drug Administration Institute.
International labs continue to work with China on introducing alternatives
In an effort to reduce the number of animals used in the registration and testing of cosmetics in China, the US non-profit laboratory continues to assist China authorities in adopting alternative methods to evaluate cosmetics manufactured in the Zhejiang province.
The Institute's most recent course was attended by ZJFDA scientists who were taught laboratory techniques using more predictive and human relevant test methods such as reconstructed human skin and eye models.
"We know it is essential that Chinese laboratories be able to provide non-animal testing methods before the CFDA will approve their use in regulatory submissions," says Erin Hill, president of the IIVS.
"The ZJFDA's goal to be recognized as a key laboratory for non-animal methods presents a great opportunity and we are pleased to be able to support their notable efforts," she adds.
The Institute for In Vitro Sciences specializes in testing thousands of ingredients for cosmetic companies while providing training on its methods in an effort to get the word out to regulatory agencies about alternatives.
In 2006, the director of education and outreach programs, Dr. Brian Jones first trekked to China to discuss alternatives in cosmetics and bring labs up to speed on the latest methods.
By 2011, the breakthrough came when Chinese officials held a conference with the IIVS team and a number of experts to discuss how to modify the '3T3 Neutral Red Uptake Phototoxicity Assay' and fit it in to what’s been done in the cosmetics industry.